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 By PA Sport

Alexis Sanchez thanks 'football master' Arsene Wenger after United win

Alexis Sanchez expressed his gratitude to Arsene Wenger, calling the Arsenal manager a "football master" the day after he announced he would end his mammoth 22-year reign at the club at the end of the season.

The Chilean moved to north London from Barcelona in July 2014 and went on to establish himself as one of the Gunners' key players before leaving for Manchester United earlier this year.

Sanchez, who scored 80 goals in 165 appearances for Arsenal, revealed he has been in recent contact with Wenger and described the Frenchman in glowing terms on Saturday evening.

Speaking after United's 2-1 FA Cup semifinal victory over Tottenham at Wembley, Sanchez told reporters: "I texted him yesterday to wish him the best. I could not say anything on social media but I texted him and he replied to me saying thank you to me.

"It's sad because he is a historical football legend, I always said he is a gentleman and a football master, he taught me a lot about respect and to be professional.

"I'm just so thankful to him.''

Alexis Sanchez scored 80 goals in 165 appearances while playing for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Wenger revealed that even though he was leaving at the end of the season, he expected under-fire defender Shkodran Mustafi  to enjoy a long career at the Emirates Stadium.

The first match since Wenger's announcement comes at home to West Ham on Sunday, with the Premier League a much bigger priority for the struggling Hammers than it is for Arsenal -- who have all-but missed out on the top four for a second season in succession.

That is largely down to their abysmal away form, with defeat at Newcastle last weekend leaving the Gunners with just three league wins on the road all season and no points taken away from the Emirates since the turn of the year.

Mustafi was at fault for Newcastle's opener and has made several mistakes this season that have seen his credentials as a top-level player questioned -- despite the fact he is a fully-fledged Germany international.

"His confidence is lower,'' Wenger replied when asked if there was a problem. "He has played many games and most of the mistakes he made have been post-Europa League games because he was a bit jaded.

"On that front that is part of the fatigue factor which would be the explanation why he had some less good games.

"We are in a job where we can't demand that people, when you make mistakes, say that it's absolutely wonderful. That's part of Arsenal. Like me when I lose games, I have to accept that.''

Mustafi joined for a fee in excess of £30 million in 2016 but reportedly came close to leaving for Serie A last summer before the decision was taken to retain his services.

Wenger insists the 25-year-old was never likely to leave and backed him to be at the club for the foreseeable future.

"I think so, yes,'' he replied when asked if he felt Mustafi would be an Arsenal player in the long term.

"He wasn't close [to leaving]. He is a young defender who has had ups and downs. I believe overall he has potential. He is one of the guys who is committed and goes for the challenges.

"He is not one guy who hides from the responsibility, so overall he will be a promising defender for the future. Experience helps.

"In this job, goalkeeper and central defender is a job for old people or older people. So overall that plays a part of course.''


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