Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is looking to stir up midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, after having dropped him from the Red Devils’ last two matchday squads, according to reports.
The playmaker has hit a rough patch after starting the 2017-18 campaign with a bang, and as a result, the 28-year-old has been omitted by Mourinho from his team sheet on two occasions in the past five days.
Mkhitaryan did not feature in United’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle in the Premier League last weekend, and was also dropped in their 1-0 loss to Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, despite having traveled with the squad.
Mirror reports that the Armenia international getting axed is an attempt by the Special One to ‘jolt the player from his slumber and help him rediscover his best form’.
This isn’t the first time Mourinho has turned to the ‘tough love’ approach in order to spark a positive response from the midfielder. He had left Micki out from the first-team for nearly two months last season, which enabled the star to figure out what was actually required from him.
Eventually, the axe paid off, as his form improved upon returning, and he then played an instrumental role in United’s Europa League and EFL Cup triumphs.
However, the former Borussia Dortmund man, who is now without a goal or an assist to show for in his last seven appearances for the Red Devils, is back in a similar situation, as the Portuguese boss has pushed him down the pecking order.
Earlier this week, Mourinho said: “The question for many weeks was why don’t they [Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial] play together – now it’s why isn’t Mkhitaryan playing? The answer is very simple, until the international board change the rules I can only play 11.”
The Old Trafford club is set to take on Brighton on Saturday in the Premier League, and with all the players raring to go and make up for their defeat to Basel, Mkhitaryan might find it difficult to book a spot for himself once again.
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.