Henrikh Mkhitaryan demonstrated his importance to this Manchester United side with another spellbinding performance against Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League.
The Armenian, making just his fourth start since ending his 15-game exile from the starting XI, decided a gritty, unattractive encounter in Odessa with a moment of sublime brilliance.
In the 48th minute, Mkhitaryan – quite literally – danced on the ice, swerving past two defenders with one swift turn before sending a precise finish into the bottom corner.
A glance at the 27-year-old’s stats from the game against Zorya once again illustrated his brilliance: 89% pass accuracy, 4 crosses, 2 take-ons, 2 tackles won, 1 shot, 1 goal.
Mkhitaryan had to suffer under Mourinho. His first start in a Man United – against Manchester City on September 10 – ended in disaster. He was quickly cast into anonymity, forced to start again. And so he worked tirelessly, doggedly labouring in training, always looking to improve.
He had to wait until November 24 for his next start. Since then, however, he hasn’t looked back, as his record shows: 6 appearances, 3 man of the match awards, 2 assists, 1 goal.
It was always going to take time for Mkhitaryan – a notably shy, occasionally self-doubting individual – to acclimatise to life at a club of United’s magnitude. But after a tricky couple of months United fans are finally seeing the true Mkhitaryan, and, well, it really is a sight to behold.