Manchester United attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has revealed that he had “many hard nights” under Jurgen Klopp, when at Borussia Dortmund. Mkhitaryan has struggled in the first few months of his United career, with Jose Mourinho opting to leave the Armenian out of the first team squad, until recently. United’s number 22 has only made a single Premier League start and was hauled off at half time in the 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester City.
In recent weeks Mourinho has started Mkhitaryan, in the 4-0 victory over Feyenoord and the 4-1 victory over West Ham United, starring in both. Many fans are looking for the United manager to start Mkhitaryan against Everton today, especially with Wayne Rooney missing in action through suspension.
Mkhitaryan was exceptional against West Ham United in the week. His run across the line and subsequent back heel into the path of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, before the Swede slotted home the opener, was sublime and showcased to Old Trafford the ability of the playmaker. Mourinho has been reluctant to play Mkhitaryan, however comments from the United manager before the Arsenal game suggested that the Armenian would have “struggled mentality with the pressure” – indicating that it isn’t the ability of the playmaker that is holding him back at present. A good game at Goodison will do wonders for his confidence and ability to perform in the Premier League.
Mkhitaryan was a £26.3 million summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, where in 2015/16 he was name Bundesliga’s player of the season. The midfielder has revealed that he struggled in his second season under Jurgen Klopp, as the whole club underperformed in comparison with the high standards set in previous seasons. The struggle is evident in the goals notched up by Mkhitaryan, who only hit the back of the net five times in the whole of the 2014/15 campaign.
“It was a very hard period for me. The first season was O.K, but the second season [2014/15] was a disaster, not only for me, but also for the club. We were losing so much, and I felt like I was having no luck. Not only was I not scoring, but I was not assisting, which is very unlike me. I had been signed for a lot of money, and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I had many hard nights in my apartment in Dortmund, all alone, just thinking and thinking. I didn’t want to go outside, even to have dinner.”
United are currently in 7th and are some way off (fourteen points) Chelsea in top spot. A win today will put United in sixth spot before playing Tottenham at home in a must win game next weekend.