Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella joked he might have to use a novel approach to dealing with the threat of Alexis Sanchez when his team come up against Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday. “Manchester have fantastic players and Sanchez has improved hugely over the course of his career,” said Italian Montella, who knows the Chilean from the time he spent in Serie A with Udinese.
“How do we stop him? I don’t know. We’ll have to tie him up!” Another player Montella knows from Serie A is Paul Pogba, although it is not certain the former Juventus midfielder will even start in the last 16, first leg at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan amid reports of an uneasy relationship with his manager Jose Mourinho.
“He is a complete player, strong, technical and scores goals. He is fantastic,” Montella told reporters at Sevilla’s stadium on Tuesday. “He was the most expensive player in history before Neymar. I hope he doesn’t play!” Montella was appointed during Spain’s winter break following the controversial sacking of Argentine coach Eduardo Berizzo, who had just undergone surgery for prostate cancer.
Sacked by AC Milan in November, Montella will be taking charge of only his second Champions League game when he comes up against United. He previously oversaw Roma’s defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of the last 16 in 2011, while Jose Mourinho has vast experience of the Champions League, a competition he has won with both FC Porto and Inter Milan.
“He was a pioneer. I have read books about his style of coaching,” said Montella of Mourinho. “I don’t know how many Champions League matches he has managed. But against his experience we will need to not think about that and be brave.” Montella also said that winger Joaquin Correa had trained on Tuesday and could play after coming off in the first half of Saturday’s La Liga win at Las Palmas, while his fellow Argentine, playmaker Ever Banega, could also return.