Phil Neville has criticised Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s performances at Manchester United this season, insisting the Armenian was ‘lucky’ to be at the club.
The 28-year-old enjoyed a promising first few games, claiming five assists in three outings, but has since continually frustrated with a series of meek performances.
He had been excluded from eight of Man United’s last nine match-day squads ahead of his cameo against Bristol City and failed to have a desired impact at Ashton Gate.
And Neville, writing in a column for Sky Sports, noted that he had no sympathy for Mkhitaryan’s current exile from Mourinho’s side.
“There’s a lot of criticism of Jose’s treatment of Henrikh Mkhitaryan but he ultimately didn’t deliver when he’s played,” he said. “He’s not unlucky, he’s lucky he gets to play for United.”
“Under Sir Alex [Ferguson], if I didn’t perform I wasn’t in the team. People need to stop sugar-coating it. If you don’t perform then you don’t get in the team or a new contract, it’s not Jose being personal, it’s business.”
The 28-year-old received chance after chance to make an impact under Mourinho this season and failed every time. Even those fruitful displays in August and early September only came once the opponent was tiring and United turning the screw as a collective.
Every other side around them in the table has a creative spark that has, by varying degrees, offered decisive displays in attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil, Kevin de Bruyne, Christian Eriksen, Philipe Coutinho, Eden Hazard.
It is a testament to Mourinho that, even without the above calibre of player, he has remained ahead of everyone aside from Manchester City, but it cannot go along for much longer.