Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli has risked the wrath of Arsene Wenger after admitting he played Alexis Sanchez through the pain barrier against Brazil.
The Arsenal star played the entire match against the Selecao last week despite ongoing concerns over a niggling groin injury. Having scored in the dying minutes to seal a 2-0 win, it seemed Sanchez had recovered from the affliction.
However, Sampaoli has admitted that the 26-year-old was still struggling when he took to the field, but, as usual, was determined to play in his country's opening World Cup qualifier.
"Alexis arrived not at his top form, with pain in the adductor," said Sampaoli, according to the Mirror.
"He couldn’t play at 100 per cent but we thought that for us him not playing was to give too much advantage to our rivals because his presence in our team makes things difficult for our opponents."
The wrath of Wenger
Wenger has been outspoken against international managers in the past, bemoaning their reluctance to listen to advice from his medical team at Arsenal. Indeed, that same medical team had been in contact with their counterparts in the Chile national squad to warn them of Sanchez's ongoing problem.
It was originally claimed that Arsenal were not overly concerned with the problem but were expecting Chile to be cautious with the £130,000-a-week star.
Having scored six goals in their last three games, including two against Manchester United, Sanchez has become as key to Arsenal's title hopes as he is to Chile's hopes of reaching Russia 2018.
Unfortunately, that reliance is likely to see Sanchez play another 90 minutes against Peru later this week. With Arsenal's facing Bayern Munich next Tuesday in a crucial Champions League clash, Wenger will be praying to get the flying forward back in one piece.
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