Manchester United summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is yet to start a competitive match for the club, and Mourinho explains why.
Mkhitaryan arrived in Manchester this summer following his £26 million move from Borussia Dortmund. He was Jose Mourinho’s second signing since his appointment as Manchester United boss.
However, the Armenian has not yet started a single competitive match for the Red Devils. He had two opportunities to get his name on the starting sheet, but Mourinho opted for other midfielders instead.
The 2015/16 Bundesliga Player of the Year started all three of Manchester United’s pre-season matches, and showcased his impressive abilities.
He did manage to feature in Manchester United first two competitive matches of the season, but both were from the bench.
Jose Mourinho explained his decision of choosing not to start Henrikh during United’s first competitive matches during his pre-match press conference yesterday.
Jose stated: “Options. I was reading the game against Leicester and I felt that we needed the speed of Jesse Lingard and, in the game against Bournemouth, that [Juan] Mata would help guard against their pressing really high. He could reach some spaces behind the line of the pressure and could be very useful for us.
“I decided to play [Wayne] Rooney in both games, close to Zlatan [Ibrahimović], and I didn’t start with Micki. When some managers buy players, they feel they have to protect their choices by playing the player all the time – I am not like this. Before me, comes the team and what I think is best for the team.
“I felt that Lingard and Mata were better options for the team in these matches, with the reality of the Premier League, so I made that decision.”
The gaffer went on to reassure the Manchester United fans that he is only doing his job, and trying to ease every player into the new process. He also praised Mkhitaryan, and revealed that he believed the Armenia international will be a crucial player this season.
“I keep saying the same thing, though, that Mkhitaryan is a super football player and will give us a lot during the season.”