Jose Mourinho is a happy man right now as Manchester United have now managed to win the last nine games in all competitions. The last time the club were close to such a record was back in February 2009. Summer signings like Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been extremely crucial in the run. Ironically, Mourinho contemplated the possibility of selling the Armenian international as early as January, according to former Sky Sports pundit Richard Keys.
Mkhitaryan struggled in his first few months at the club, but Mourinho was criticised for not giving the £30 million signing an opportunity to prove his quality. Despite having cost a significant amount of money, Mkhitaryan did not complete his first 90 minutes of football for his new club until November 30 in the EFL Cup game against West Ham. Keys claims that Mourinho was disappointed with one of his summer signings that he was ready to sell at the turn of the year. In his blog, he said:
“The irony of United’s recent good form is that it’s largely down to half a dozen players that Mourinho had written off after deciding he didn’t want them!
“I can also tell you that he’d said to one of them recently ‘I made a mistake buying you in the summer. You can leave in January’.
“He’s changed his mind now! I’ll let you work out who the player was.”
United brought in four big names – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – in the summer. Of these names, only Mkhitaryan did not feature much in the first half of the campaign. Yet, the Armenian has been hugely influential over the last few weeks. Since scoring his first goal for the club in the 2-0 win over Zorya in the Europa League, he has gone on to net three goals and create one assist in six outings.
Everything good done by the club now seems to flow through summer signings Paul Pogba and Mkhitaryan.
Mourinho is still being criticised for being judgemental of players too early. It was a criticism faced by the Portuguese even during his second spell at Chelsea when he sold the likes of Kevin De Bruyne after just a few months. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin have had little joy in the first team since Mourinho took over. Yet, these players have proved their quality and worth over several professional campaigns.
Schneiderlin is on the verge of a £22 million move to Everton while Schweinsteiger is expected to leave the club at the end of the season.