Juan Mata admits he does not see Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a rival for starting job

Manchester United definitely unearthed a real gem of a footballer in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan recently, with Jose Mourinho finally putting his faith in the Armenia international. The 27-year-old was really flourishing in the United team before getting injured – but he shouldn’t be out for too long.

In Mkhitaryan’s absence, Juan Mata was brought into the mix against Crystal Palace, and the clever Spaniard did pretty well; he also had a perfectly good goal wrongly ruled out for offside which didn’t help matters.

Now, the former Chelsea playmaker has been speaking to reporters about whether he believes himself and Mkhitaryan can play in the same team, or if the pair are in direct competition with each other to get on Jose Mourinho’s team sheet.

“I do not think (my rival for the place is Mkhitaryan). We are different players and we can play together.” Juan Mata told the IBTimes. “Then it depends on each game as the manager decides what is best for the team. But I think we are different players and I am happy for his recent performance because he is a great guy and deserves it.”

“I love playing with Ander, with Mkhitaryan…. We are different but we understand each other well on the pitch because we play the same type of football. Then the manager has the decision. He decides what is best for each match.”

At the end of the day, all good players can definitely play together no matter what their style of play. Juan Mata is a perfectly capable #10, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s game is more suited to the right-hand side.

However, the final decision is obviously with Jose Mourinho, and at this point in time we still haven’t seen the pair start a game together. I’ve no doubts that when the situation is right, we’ll see them partner up and hopefully it’s a match made in heaven.

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