Henrikh Mkhitaryan has insisted there is still plenty more he can offer Jose Mourinho at Manchester United following his opening campaign at Old Trafford.
The Armenian, signed for £27m last summer, suffered a difficult opening to his Man United career, spending almost three months on the sidelines.
He was slowly immersed back into the fold and produced a number of breathtaking moments during the second half of the season – culminating, of course, in the killer goal against Ajax in the Europa League final.
But the 28-year-old has made it clear that there remains plenty of room for improvement ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
“Some people they say ‘you have been another player in Dortmund’ but I’m saying I never regret coming here,” he said. “I am very happy and coming here I become another player.
“In these kind of moments, if you are giving up you are going to lose the meaning of the life. I mean you have to stay positive, you have to stay strong and work very hard because in one click everything can change and that’s what happened.
“I think there is always a place to improve. I am expecting something good because I know that you can always do better and better, there is no limit. I will try, I will try my best.
“It doesn’t matter how you did last year. It has been a good year for us, for me as well, because we won three titles. But I know for this upcoming season I can do better and better. I’m trying, I’m working hard on myself and I know that I will achieve more.
“I’m not saying just goals or assists. As well the playing style, the understanding between my team-mates, I mean everything.
“The manager in general is saying that we need to do more. Everyone understands that because we know this season is going to be a little bit harder because we are not going to play in Europa League we are going to play in Champions League, which is different. We are working very hard on it and we are sure we can have good results.
“I am ready to play wherever he wants me to play. I don’t have a preference in a position. I like to play and if I’m playing and will try my best if I’m in the middle, on the wing, on the side or up front. It doesn’t matter.
“Manchester United is always playing for high places. We’re always playing for titles. This year as well we’re going to try to win some titles. This is the main goal for Manchester United. I will try to do everything to help the team.”
Mkhitaryan’s time at Old Trafford so far aligns quite accurately with the frustrating promise of United under Mourinho last season: unquestionably capable of brilliance but for whatever reason unable to make it count on a regular basis.
The Armenian is a unique talent. He can heap pressure on opponents with his rapid, direct, close control approach, and there have been times – that 3-0 win over Leicester serves as an example off the top of my head – where his mazy brilliance has just been too much for defenders.
With the ice breaking process over with and Romelu Lukaku offering an option in behind next year, supporters can be hopeful of seeing Mkhitaryan continue to imprint his style on Mourinho’s set-up.