Jose Mourinho has shed some important light on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s ambiguous predicament at Manchester United.
The 27-year-old was signed by Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund back in July for a fee ranging between £27m and £30m.
Mkhitaryan made promising substitute appearances in games against Southampton and Hull City early in the season, before receiving his first start in a Man United shirt against Manchester City on September 10. The Armenian was hooked off at half-time after struggling against Pep Guardiola’s side.
He was then sidelined for a month with a thigh strain and returned to full strength ahead of United’s 4-1 win over Fenerbahce in mid-October.
However, despite being fully fit, Mkhitaryan has been omitted from six of United’s last seven match-day squads since returning from injury, prompting widespread outrage amongst supporters and calls for his imminent inclusion.
Mourinho, when questioned over these concerns, gave an answer that shed light on why Mkhitaryan hasn’t completed 90 minutes at United so far.
The 53-year-old claimed that the game against Arsenal was not the appropriate time to hand the attacking midfielder a chance to impress, noting that such a high-octane environment would have been detrimental to his already depleted confidence. He added that Mkhitaryan was ‘not happy’ with his continued omission from the match-day squad, but claimed that he was channeling that frustration in a positive way.
Mourinho has already confirmed that Mkhitaryan would receive an opportunity to play against Feyenoord on Thursday night, citing the encounter with the Dutch side as a more appropriate game for the Armenian.
Indeed, the Portuguese’s reservation over Mkhitaryan makes sense in the context of his early days at Dortmund. It is often ignored that the 27-year-old, upon arriving in Germany from Shaktar Donetsk in 2013, monumentally struggled to cope with the pressures of playing for a top European side.
Now at United, it has become clear that playing for a club of such magnitude has negatively impinged on Mkhitaryan’s mindset, leaving Mourinho with no choice but to sideline the Armenian until the right time arrives.
Here is Sam’s video, where he outlines the Mkhitaryan situation in full. Be sure to leave your opinion in the video’s comments section.