Henrikh Mkhitaryan received a much-needed confidence boost following a miserable month at Manchester United by claiming a goal and an assist during Armenia’s 4-1 win over Belarus on Thursday night.
The 28-year-old, having claimed five assists in his first three games this season, has endured a dramatic slump in form and yielded widespread criticism for his anonymous display at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
And it looked as if Mkhitaryan’s demise was set to continue after the Armenia captain missed a penalty and then the rebound to put his country 2-0 up in Yerevan.
But the playmaker showed admirable resolve to impose himself on the game, starting and rounding off a slick attacking move to finally give the hosts a two goal advantage.
He continued to harass the Belarus back four, finding space in the middle and serving as the catalyst for attacking movements, and eventually claimed an assist from a corner that found Rumyan Hovsepyan with 30 minutes remaining.
There is still a long way to go before Mkhitaryan proves his doubters wrong. Strong performances against minnow sides like Belarus should indeed be taken with a pinch of salt, but that won’t bother Mkhitaryan.
To get a feeling for the ball, find the net, and just generally dominate a game at No.10 would have done wonders for his ailing confidence, and supporters will just hope to see him carry the momentum into his club form.