Jose Mourinho has revealed he apologised to Henrikh Mkhitaryan for taking him off at half-time in Manchester United’s 2-0 win against Derby County.
Goals form Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku sealed the victory late on for Man United in the FA Cup Third Round. The latter replaced Mkhitaryan at the break after a poor display from the Armenian in the first 45 minutes.
It’s been a tough few months for Mkhitaryan, whose performances have been woeful at times since first being dropped in November.
“Taking Henrikh Mkhitaryan off at half-time was unfair,” Mourinho conceded.
“I apologised to him in front of the team. I had to make a sacrifice.”
It was a sacrifice well worth making, and while it’s harsh to take a player off at half-time, it was a necessary substitution.
Lukaku added a different dimension to United’s attack, which had been led by Rashford in the first half, and the Belgian proved his worth with the Reds’ second goal after a thumping half-volley from Lingard put Mourinho’s side in front.
United travel to Stoke City at the weekend, and it’s unlikely Mkhitaryan will start given his recent poor form. He’s been linked with a move away from the club. Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund are both supposedly interested, but can’t afford the €30-40m transfer fee.