Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s “magic” during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Leicester City in the Premier League.
The Armenian, deployed in the No.10 role after Mourinho switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation with 20 minutes gone, quickly took centre stage at the King Power Stadium with a truly effervescent display against the Champions.
His goal after 42 minutes – a superb strike following an unstoppable run through the heart of Leicester’s back four – paved the way for Man United to dominate proceedings against Claudio Ranieri’s men.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to highlight Mkhitaryan’s brilliance.
“I think in your chair, your perspective is always… if a player is not playing, the manager is, I cannot say the word, I have to find a different word… the manager is disturbing him – but it’s not true,” he said.
“Sometimes we don’t play players and we protect them and Mkhi [Mkhitaryan] was one of these players. He was being protected. And he was adapting.
“And I could see not just what you see – because you see the magic things he can do on the pitch – but I also see other things that I want to see and Mkhi is playing really well.”
Sunday’s demolition of Leicester City further reinforced the notion that Mkhitaryan stands apart from the rest: not just in ability, but also in how he inflicts himself on opponents.
He is not a player that makes an impact through one big moment of brilliance; he is, instead, a player capable of constantly turning the screw, always roaming forward with that unique fluidity and natural effervescence on the ball, whilst also producing that one big moment on the side.