Jose Mourinho has worrying revealed Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s absence is down to the fact he is struggling with the pressures of playing for Manchester United.
Mkhitaryan is still yet to start a game for Man United since joining from Borussia Dortmund this summer in what was considered one of our best signings.
His absence at the start of the season was down to injuries and a lack of fitness but Mourinho has now confirmed the issues stopping him from playing are more than physical at the moment.
Quoted by The Telegraph, Mourinho said: “I told him, ‘This [Arsenal] was not the game for you, I don’t think you need 10 or 20 minutes from the bench, I think you need a good game and you need to either start or if not to come (on) for the second half’.
“He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.
“Yes (he is getting closer). I told him today that he is going to be involved in the game against Feyenoord. He is trying. Obviously he is not happy but he is transforming his frustration in a good way, which is (to) close the mouth and work hard and try to adapt.”
Mkhitaryan very much struggled at Borussia Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp and it wasn’t until Thomas Tuchel arrived at the club that he transformed into one of Europe’s best players, and the Armenian midfielder previously pointed towards the influence of a book which Tuchel made him read which helped transformed his game.
“It’s like it was written especially for me,” Mkhitaryan previously said.
“I used to make all the mistakes mentioned there. I’m really grateful that the coach has changed the way I think.”
The book in question was called The Inner Game of Tennis and its purpose was to help individuals overcome self-doubt, nervousness and lapses of concentration which could keep a player from winning. That synopsis very much falls in line with Mourinho’s comments about his current struggles at United.
Mkhitaryan isn’t the first player, nor will he be the last, to struggle with adapting to life at United but there are real concerns as to whether we’ll get to see the same player who tore the Bundesliga apart last season.
It all comes down to how Mourinho manages the situation. Some may point to how he drastically mismanaged Kevin de Bruyne previously and missed out on his meteoric rise but he was 22, Mkhitaryan is 28 and should be a ready made star at the minute. Psychological issues should be a thing of the past for him but evidently they are not.
We’ve got to trust Mourinho that he will get the most out of him and as he has confirmed Mkhitaryan will play against Feyenoord as there is less pressure in that match, so here’s hoping we’ll see the real Henrikh in that game.