Jose Mourinho has hinted towards Henrikh Mkhitaryan receiving his first start for Manchester United since November 5 against Bristol City in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
The Armenian has been excluded from eight of the last nine match-day squads after continually failing to impress at No.10.
But Mourinho, speaking after Sunday’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, noted that the 28-year-old could receive a chance to impress at Ashton Gate.
“He [Mkhitaryan] can [be back],” he said. “I am making a few changes for the match, but not many because Bristol City are one of the best teams in the Championship.”
“For me now, the Championship is not the Championship of five or 10 years ago. The Championship is now high-quality teams with lots of players that could be playing in the Premier League easily.
“So we need to take the game really seriously. I am going to make a few changes and it is possible Micki is involved.”
Mkhitaryan has seemingly lost Mourinho’s trust after failing to step up and assert himself as a playmaker capable of competing with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Philipe Coutinho this season, and a strong performance against Bristol on Wednesday will not change that.
In trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge, alongside all of Man United’s games in Europe this season, he has cut a peripheral figure, producing the occasional nice touch but dramatically failing to build any momentum or pressure in the final third.
You sense the only reason he will play against the Championship side will be so Jesse Lingard – deservedly ahead of him in the pecking order – receives a rest ahead of Leicester City.