Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has revealed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was dropped from recent matchday squads after having significantly dipped on his performance levels.
The Armenia international started the campaign on a bright note as he contributed five assists and two goals in the space of just over a month. However, he has since struggled to make a notable impact in the lineup, thus forcing Mourinho to drop him completely for the games versus Basel and Newcastle.
Speaking in the lead-up to the Brighton game, Mourinho confirmed that the decision to drop Mkhitaryan was due to his poor showing for a string of matches rather than ‘one or two’.
He said, as per Sky Sports: “I was not happy with his last performances and I am not speaking about one or two. I am speaking about three, four or five. He started the season very well and, after that, step by step, he was disappearing.”
Despite this, Mourinho confirmed that the former Dortmund ace will make the matchday squad versus Brighton, although he gave no clue whether he would make the starting lineup, he added: “Last couple of matches, Mkhitaryan was out and other players had the opportunity to play, that normally Mkhitaryan has. I think it is quite fair that tomorrow Mkhitaryan is back. I don’t know [when asked about Mkhitaryan’s involvement in the first XI].”
Manchester United are currently trailing leaders Manchester City by eight points at the top of the standings, and Mourinho will expect nothing less than convincing win against Brighton at Old Trafford, where they have a 100 percent record across all competitions.
Both Phil Jones and Eric Bailly have been sidelined for the encounter, but the game could offer an opportunity for Marcos Rojo to make his first league appearance of the season after Mourinho praised his performance during the midweek 1-0 Champions League defeat to FC Basel.