Manchester United returned to winning ways on Wednesday evening, with a slender 1-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth. Jose Mourinho would have been pleased with the result, but the performance still left plenty to be desired.
It was great to see the likes of Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay involved, but it was another fixture where Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasn’t involved. The Armenia star has now missed out on six of the last seven matchday squads, after some poor form through October.
Now, Mourinho has shed some light on the situation. The Portuguese boss claimed that other players deserved their opportunity, and the matchday eighteen simply doesn’t have room for the former Borussia Dortmund star right now.
“I can only have six [outfield] players on the bench and I try to have some balance on the bench – I had two defenders and [Daley] Blind who can play in different areas. I had Ashley Young to cover me all of the wing and the wing-back position.” Mourinho told reporters, including ManUtd.com.
“I had [Ander] Herrera as a midfield player, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] as a striker and Marcus [Rashford] as a second striker and winger. I played [Anthony] Martial, [Juan] Mata and [Jesse] Lingard in the team. To have Micki means that I don’t have one of them and, in this moment, I believe the other ones they deserve [the chance to play].”
Honestly, it’s fair enough. Jesse Lingard is playing well at present, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives us another option up front. Right now, I’m happy with Mkhitaryan sitting a few games out. He’ll have to remain patient and grasp an opportunity when one comes his way – although it may be a while before that point arrives.
He’s in the doghouse, and we all know how much Mourinho values trust and effort. Mkhitaryan could take some pointers from Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, who have both had to re-earn the gaffer’s trust after poor spells.