Henrikh Mkhitaryan has accepted responsibility for the underwhelming start to his Manchester United career
Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived from Borussia Dortmund in a £26.3million deal in the summer, and was widely expected to slot straight into Jose Mourinho’s team after a hugely productive season at Dortmund. Mkhitaryan was one of the four “specialists” that Mourinho wanted to sign, but things did not go to plan at all.
After a poor performance in the Manchester Derby early in the season, Mkhitaryan was frozen out of the team and did not feature again for 2 months, when he was given 29 minutes against Fenerbache in the Europa League. Mkhitaryan once again did not feature for 3 weeks, after Mourinho left him out of the team in the Premier League, but played 82 minutes against Feyenoord and was very impressive.
However, Mkhitaryan has now started 3 of United’s last 4 matches, and things look to be improving for the Armenian midfielder. According to Mkhitaryan himself, he is to blame for his stuttering start to his United career, and not Jose Mourinho, who came under fire for his treatment of the Armenian.
According to The Daily Mail, Mkhitaryan had this to say :
‘The problem wasn’t him, it was me.” he said. ‘Now I understand why. I have got my chance and I will keep it, it’s very important for me to be a part of Manchester United.’
‘I had a bad game against City, but I kept working. I have done a great job to get my chance back. The manager has five or six players in my position, but I know how I can help.’
Jose Mourinho, for his part, has always said that the Armenian needs time and that he is still a part of his plans. After Manchester United’s 4-1 thrashing of West Ham in the League Cup, Mourinho singled out Mkhitaryan for praise, citing his performance against a Premier League team as a sign of the player slowly getting to terms with Premier League football.
Mourinho is notorious for freezing out creative players who don’t perform defensively, and has said in the past that the Armenian still needs time to adapt to the pace and physicality of the league. Mkhitaryan generally looks tired towards the end of games, and given United’s struggles this season it would appear that Mourinho was unwilling to risk playing a creative player in order to sacrifice defensive stability.
Mkhitaryan has been having a good impact in the games he has played after his return from exile however, and it appears that things are on the up for the Armenian Red Devil.