Former Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu has come out in defence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan following his prolonged absence under Jose Mourinho, noting that the Armenian was one of the best players he ever worked with.
Mkhitaryan hasn’t made a start for Manchester United since an abysmal showing at No.10 during the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea over a month ago.
And when asked about the 28-year-old’s recent exile on Wednesday night, Mourinho notably insisted that there were more players deserving of a place in his squad at this moment in time.
But Lucescu, who oversaw Mkhitaryan’s time at Shakhtar, was quick to hail the playmaker as an intelligent footballer who deserves credit.
“An important player was Henrikh Mkhitaryan who came from Armenia, a country that has never produced high-quality players,” he said.
“He made a huge leap, mostly thanks to himself and his family. He is very intelligent, he speaks five or six languages.”
“He is one of the best players I have ever trained.”
Wednesday’s 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth served as clear evidence of this side’s improved capacity to grind out victories in comparison to last season, but the lack of creative spark was once again there for all to see.
Mkhitaryan’s first three Premier League outings this term, during which he claimed five assists, were supposed to be a precursor for a new kind of effervescence going forward, but while other things have removed his lack of consistency and, at times, complete anonymity at No.10 is a painful constant of the Mourinho era so far.
You really have to wonder whether his time at Old Trafford is coming to an end.