Arsene Wenger has explained why Alexis Sanchez is so disappointed after Chile failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Wenger has pointed out that given Alexis’ age, Chile’s failure to qualify for the World Cup next year is a big blow for him. The 29-year-old apparently expected to go after his country won the Copa America two years in a row and the fact that they haven’t has come as a bit of a shock.
“I believe to play at the top level, it is part of dealing with that kind of disappointment,” said the boss ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Watford on Saturday.
“If you want to make a big career it’s a bit of a roller-coaster, because you are sometimes on a high then three days later you’re on a low.
“It’s part of our job. Some deal better than others with it.
“He is in a very difficult mind. Chile just won the Copa America twice, and now they don’t even go to the World Cup.
“Sanchez is 29 at the end of the year, so the next one he will be 33. He expected to go. It’s certainly a big disappointment for him.
“I have no doubt that he wants to perform. He never goes on the football pitch to lose a football game, never.
“Sanchez is a winner. I watched the game with Brazil, what a physical game it was.
“He played against Dani Alves, that was a real battle, believe me.
“You want your players to be in a positive mind, and as well to have positive experiences. To go to the World Cup is the target of every single player who plays football.
“You have always to set targets when you’re a football player. When one is gone, you focus on something else.”
Chile failed to make the qualifying play-offs after they lost 3-0 to Brazil on Wednesday night and Peru drew 1-1 with Colombia.
Frustratingly for Alexis, it was an Arsenal teammate who ensured the draw for Peru, which pushed them above Chile in their group table on goal difference alone.
Peru had an indirect free-kick against Colombia with David Ospina in goal. The 29-year-old tried to save it but ended up touching it into the net. This meant it counted as it was an own goal.
It’s unclear how much Alexis will let this affect him. However, rumours have been circulating that Arsenal are concerned about how ‘mentally fit’ the forward currently is.
I don’t imagine he’ll be sitting down for lunch with Ospina any time soon…