Manchester United spent big to bring Henrikh Mkhitaryan into Old Trafford over the summer, with the Armenian having just one-year left on his contract with Borussia Dortmund. The club signed a player right in his prime, with the 27-year-old expecting to come in and make an instant impact.
Despite shining on his debut against Wigan in pre-season, Mkhitaryan has been utilised very sparingly since, and didn’t get a start in the Community Shield against Leicester or the league opener against AFC Bournemouth.
This led to fans questioning why he hasn’t been involved from the off, and now Jose Mourinho has answered that question in a recent interview.
“Options,” Mourinho began. “I went to the game against Leicester and I was reading the game and I thought we needed the speed of Jesse Lingard.
“And against Bournemouth, I thought they wanted to press really high, and a player like Mata coming inside could reach some spaces behind the lines of pressure and it could be very useful for us. And I decided to play Rooney both games in that position close to Zlatan and I didn’t start with Mkhitaryan.”
“In last two matches Mata and Lingard were the best options – Mkhitaryan is a super footballer. He’ll get a lot of opportunities.”
The tactical genius of Jose Mourinho has already come to the fore, and it certainly bodes well moving forward. We’ve got a manager who isn’t afraid of making those huge decisions that may upset certain players from time-to-time, but it’s always about putting the team first.
There is no doubt that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will get the chances he so richly deserves based on his form last season. Maybe we’ll see him tonight against Southampton…