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02nd Dec 2016

Henrikh Mkhitaryan opens up on ‘disastrous’ time under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund

Sometimes, things just don't work out...

Nooruddean Choudry

Sometimes the circumstances just aren’t right.

A good manager can sign a good player at a good club, but yet things just don’t work out. There are so many variables involved in any transfer from one club to another, and many of them have nothing to do with football.

On the surface, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s move from Shakhtar Donetsk to Borussia Dortmund in 2013 made perfect sense. He was joining a club that seemingly suited his style of play, managed by an excellent coach in Jurgen Klopp.

But alas, it didn’t work out. In an article for The Players’ Tribune, Mkhitaryan reflects on his extremely trying first couple of seasons at Dortmund, before Klopp eventually left for Anfield.

“It was a very hard period for me. The first season was okay, but the second season was a disaster, not only for me, but also for the club,” he said.

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

“We were losing so much, and I felt like I was having no luck. Not only was I not scoring, but I was not assisting, which is very unlike me. I had been signed for a lot of money, and I put a lot of pressure on myself.

“I had many hard nights in my apartment in Dortmund, all alone, just thinking and thinking. I didn’t want to go outside, even to have dinner.”

Following Klopp’s departure, the Armenian enjoyed a new lease of life under replacement coach Thomas Tuchel, and the fans got to see his full array of talents.

“Fate can be interesting. A new manager, Thomas Tuchel, came to Dortmund before my third season, and he changed everything for me,” Mkhitaryan said.

Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Second Leg

“He came to me and said, “Listen, I want to get everything out of you.”

“I was kind of smiling and laughing, because I thought he was just trying to make me feel better. I was doubting his words.

“But he looked at me very seriously, and said, “’, you are going to be great.’ That meant everything to me. After the season I had, I didn’t think I could be a star. But he did it.

“He got everything out of me that season, and it was because I was happy again.

“That season, we played with enthusiasm. We played a crazy, super-attacking style, and we enjoyed every minute on the pitch. We basically played with two defenders, three midfielders and five strikers, and we had success. Even when we lost, we had fun.”

Michael Lundy joins Wooly for a wide-ranging discussion that starts with a chat about Ger Loughnane, dodgy transfers and Davy Fitzgerald’s training methods. Subscribe here on iTunes.

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