Manchester United manager has explained the absence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan following Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League. The Armenia international has had a tough time since the last international break with just one substitute appearance to boost.
In the aftermath of the Cherries win, Mourinho stressed that there is competition for places across different areas of the pitch, and this has played a part in Mkhitaryan’s exclusion as he is less deserving compared to his fellow teammates.
“I can only have six [outfield] players on the bench and I try to have some balance on the bench – I had two defenders and [Daley] Blind who can play in different areas. I had Ashley Young to cover me all of the wing and the wing-back position,” he is quoted as saying on United’s official website.
“I had [Ander] Herrera as a midfield player, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] as a striker and Marcus [Rashford] as a second striker and winger. I played [Anthony] Martial, [Juan] Mata and [Jesse] Lingard in the team. To have Micki means that I don’t have one of them and, in this moment, I believe the other ones they deserve [the chance to play].”
Mkhitaryan started off the campaign in sparkling fashion as he grabbed eyeballs with five assists in the space of just three Premier League matches. His form, however, deteriorated in the months which followed, and Mourinho ultimately had to take a decision on the Armenian’s position after persisting with him for a while.
The Portuguese tactician has publicly suggested that the attacker has gone ‘disappearing‘ in matches, and his exclusion from recent matchday squads has enabled the likes of Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata earn valuable gametime in the starting lineup.
Mkhitaryan suffered a similar treatment under Mourinho last term, but his situation appears far worse this campaign with reports emerging that he could be the subject of interest from former club Borussia Dortmund during the January transfer window.