Michael Owen has heaped praise on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s superb performance during Manchester United’s first leg 1-1 draw with Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final.
The Armenian struggled for fluency during the opening stages but quickly found his groove and dominated Man United’s attacking movements with an array of splendid passes and turns.
It was fitting, therefore, that it was Mkhitaryan who smartly put himself in place for a tap-in to give Jose Mourinho‘s men an important away goal ahead of next week’s second leg at Old Trafford.
And Owen, reflecting on Mkhitaryan’s goal on BT Sport, was quick to dish out praise for the 28-year-old.
“I love the build-up to the [Mkhitaryan] goal,” he said. “It’s one-touch and it’s great to see Manchester United up the tempo in the final third.”
“The angle was tight and the spin on the ball was going against him but he [Mkhitaryan] made it look easy. He caught it perfectly and rifled it into the top corner.”
It is indeed no coincidence that Mkhitaryan has now scored in all four of United’s last European away games. The diminutive magician is tailor made for continental encounters: agile, composed, blessed with a superb range of pass and, most of all, aware of everything that surrounds him at all times.
His goal – a potentially tie-deciding strike – was a potent example: just a tap-in, you might say, but it was Mkhitaryan’s prescience responsible for that goal.