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26th Jan 2018

Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a problem with Jose Mourinho and the defensive demands are slammed

Darragh Murphy

Jose Mourinho has suggested that Henrikh Mkhitaryan never did enough to adapt to life at Manchester United.

Mkhitaryan couldn’t get a game for love nor money towards the end of his spell as a United player and was ultimately used as a makeweight to convince Arsenal to part ways with Alexis Sanchez this month.

Mkhitaryan moved to the Emirates last week, with Sanchez moving in the opposite direction and while Mourinho has wished the Armenia international well, the United boss has suggested that Mkhitaryan could have made more of his opportunity at Old Trafford.

“I think it’s a good move for everybody, that’s why I’m also happy for Mkhi,” Mourinho said.

“Could he perform better with us? Could I take more from his talent? Maybe. Could he give a little more also to adapt to us? Maybe. But I don’t have regrets.”

Mkhitaryan joined United for £30 million in 2016 and while he had a decent beginning to life in England, scoring 11 goals in 41 games last season, he’s managed just two in 22 since the start of the current campaign.

The 29-year-old’s switch to the Gunners is seen as a positive one by many, with his national team’s manager admitting he’s delighted with the fact that Mkhitaryan’s time under Mourinho has come to an end.

Armenia boss Artur Petrosyan has slammed Mourinho’s treatment of the midfielder, claiming that too much defensive work was expected of Mkhitaryan.

“We are very happy with this transfer from Manchester United. His style of play will be better suited at Arsenal,” Petrosyan said.

“It is my impression that I think Henrikh had a problem with the coach [Mourinho], and, at Arsenal, it will be another thing and not the same situation. There will not be so much pressure on him defensively.”

After confirming that Mkhitaryan would be called up for Armenia’s next game, a friendly against Lithuania in March, Petrosyan admitted his frustration with his star player’s lack of playing time with the Red Devils in recent months.

He added: “I am not happy with Mourinho’s decision not to play him but it is his club, his team, he knows what he wants. I was sad he [Mkhitaryan] did not play the last matches. It is good he has left.”

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