Henrikh Mkhitaryan has given his thoughts on Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with FC Rostov in the Europa League, noting that he was happy to score on his return.
Rostov grabbed an equaliser through Aleksandr Bukharov soon after half time but Mourinho’s men, on what was a poor surface, managed to see out a scrappy encounter and will head into the second leg as favourites to reach the quarter finals.
Mkhitaryan, speaking after the game, expressed his happiness after scoring on his return from injury.
“We tried to win and we weren’t very focused at the beginning but in the second half we played as good as we could on this pitch,” he said. “It was not a very interesting game but we tried to do everything we could.
“It’s football and the equaliser will be considered, it’s a mistake but the second game will be more important. The first half was more quiet and there was nothing special, I’m happy to score but we conceded. I’m felling better there is no injury and I’ll be getting ready for the next game”
This was a game straight from the Motherland itself: a small yet somehow expansive, eerie stadium; a bobbly, frozen surface; Rostov opting for a brutally direct approach; niggling fouls at every corner; a raucous, partisan-like crowd. This was the Europa League with a Russian twist, and it wasn’t exactly pretty.
Amongst the mayhem, however, was Mkhitaryan – always there to add a touch of class and composure in an otherwise scrappy, quite-frankly-hard-to-watch affair. Every other player on the pitch – with Ashley Young a possible exception – looked uncomfortable receiving the ball, but the 28-year-old took everything in his stride, seamlessly roaming forward with the ball.
One suspects that Mkhitaryan will engender even more damage when playing on Old Trafford’s pristine turf next Thursday.