Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville believes Jose Mourinho has taken the right decision to drop Henrikh Mkhitaryan from recent match day squads. The Armenia international has not started for United since the last international break, and Neville believes the attacker does not deserve to stake a claim for a place owing to his reduced impact.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “Yes, they’ve spent a lot on players but maybe there are fewer and fewer players of that mentality available. You need to have them in the spine of your team. There’s a lot of criticism of Jose’s treatment of Henrikh Mkhitaryan but he ultimately didn’t deliver when he’s played. He’s not unlucky, he’s lucky he gets to play for United.”
The former Borussia Dortmund started off the campaign in fine fashion as he notched five assists in the space of three Premier League games. However, the 28-year-old has since managed just a solitary goal in the top-flight, and Neville is justified to suggest that the attacker was lucky to have secured regular gametime in the early part of the season.
Mourinho recently hinted that Mkhitaryan could return to the starting lineup for the League Cup quarter-final at Bristol City, but his presence on the bench indicates that the manager does not have confidence in his abilities anymore.
Both Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata have impressed in Mkhitaryan’s absence from the first XI, and he could potentially be shown the exit door at the turn of the year with United deemed to have quoted a £35m fee for his proposed sale.