It is fair to say Jose Mourinho’s time as manager of Manchester United is not going as smoothly as planned. Lying 6th in the Premier League, 9 points off the top of the table (6 from a Champions League qualification place) is not where the club wants to be and positive results are needed sooner rather than later as the pressure undoubtedly builds. He has cited that the culture within the club has to change, which is fair enough after three underwhelming seasons, despite a FA Cup triumph last May.
SEEMED A GREAT SIGNING
One player that had nothing to do with any previous culture is Henrikh Mkhitaryan, a very exciting Mourinho sanctioned buy from Borussia Dortmund. Even at 26.3m it seemed a fantastic bit of business especially with his 23 goals and 32 assists last season with the German team. However he has been used sparingly by the new manager, with mainly substitute appearances, with his one start being in the Manchester derby where he was poor and hauled off at half-time and criticised by the manager post-match to boot.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OR JUST CRITICISM?
Mourinho has spoken about his new signing a few times in public, questioning Mkhitaryan’s mental strength now he is in a more competitive league and explaining that the reason he does not feature regularly is because he needs to do better to earn a place in the team as there is so much competition for his preferred position at the club. This week he has also claimed the reason the Armenian was omitted from yet another 18 man squad for last Saturday’s clash against Arsenal was because he felt that the game was too pressurised for him. A bizarre comment which I am sure the player himself is struggling to understand especially as he has starred in the Bundesliga and played huge Champions League and Europa League games.
This Thursday (November 24th), Manchester United play Feyenoord in a must win Europa League match at Old Trafford. Jose has declared that Mkhitaryan will play some part in the game, though why this needs to be a public announcement I have no idea. It is clear in my opinion anyway that the 27 year old Armenian national team captain has not been given the rub of the green at Old Trafford as we stand and judging by their season so far it cannot be to do with the team performing to the highest of standards week in week out. Mourinho agreed the deal to bring Mkhitaryan to Old Trafford, it is now up to the Portuguese manager to get a tune of him or he may well become another Kevin De Bruyne or Romelu Lukaku, two other players he cast aside and look how well they are doing now. This one’s on you Jose.
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