Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan finally seems to have impressed manager Jose Mourinho.
The £27 million summer signing from Dortmund hasn’t had a prolonged run in the Manchester United first team. Jose Mourinho had stated that Mkhitaryan needed time to adjust to the needs and pressures of English football.
Mkhitaryan was given his golden chance against Feyenoord in the Europa League, and he grasped the opportunity with both hands. He has since force his way into the first team picture, and this culminated with him scoring his first goal for the club against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday.
Manchester United won the match 2-0 and have qualified for the Round of 32 of the Europa League. After the game, Mourinho was full of praise for the Armenian midfielder, appreciating how he fought to force himself into the starting XI.
“He has a strong mentality,” Mourinho said, according to Sky Sports.
“He worked really hard physically, tactically and the talent we know is there. The talent we knew what we were buying.
“He fought to improve tactically, he fought to improve physically, and now he is playing good in the Premier League, good in the Europa League and the EFL Cup, and now evolving a bit more happiness for him, so I’m very pleased.”
Mourinho added that he showed the determination to fight against a difficult adaptation, and is doing so in the best way possible.
Mkhitaryan was the Bundesliga Players’ Player of the Year last season, and for good reason. The 27-year-old play-maker scored 11 goals and made 15 assists for Dortmund in the Bundesliga last season. The Armenian was a much sought after player in the summer, but opted to join the Red Devils amidst interest from other top European clubs.
However, his arrival in the Premier League started with a whimper rather than a bang. Mourinho has used Mkhitaryan sparingly, with the attacking midfielder making just two starts in the Premier League so far.
Mkhitaryan’s performances in the Europa League and League Cup have put him right back in the running for a starting spot. His first goal for United comes after some brilliant individual performances against Feyenoord and West Ham.
The Armenian should prove to be a revelation in attacking midfield, and could well displace the likes of Jesse Lingard or Marcus Rashford on the right wing for United.