It’s remarkably easy to take a situation like Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s at Manchester United and spin it into something far more dramatic than it actually is. Admittedly, his lack of playing time has been surprising this season; the former Borussia Dortmund man has made only one start in the Premier League this season, and that ended prematurely when he was substituted at half time after struggling against Manchester City in September.
An injury, and doubts by Jose Mourinho over Mkhitaryan’s temperament for English football have meant that the captain of the Armenian national side has only featured once since, during United’s recent 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce in the Europa League. This has led to many doubts about whether Mkhitaryan will succeed at United, but, to his credit, he seems as intent as ever to succeed at Old Trafford, especially if these quotes from the Armenian FA’s website via the Daily Mail are anything to go by:
“I know I can succeed at Manchester United, and I want to show everyone that I deserve to be a key player in this team and this league. Today I don’t have enough playing time, so I have to do my best so the coaching staff give me the chance to play. There are no disappointments, just challenges.”
“Regarding Jose Mourinho, I hope I can learn a lot from him – he is a coach with a fantastic record. I saw the move to Manchester United as an opportunity to grow as a player and as a person. It was definitely not the salary that made me join Manchester United, I went for football reasons – for the history of the club, the fans and the coach because he is one of the best in the world. The EPL is the best league in the world and it gives me something different, a new challenge. I think I can become stronger by playing there.”
Mkhitaryan certainly wouldn’t have expected his time at the club to start as awkwardly as this, but at least he’s maintaining his intentions for his time at the club, and clearly still wants to be a success despite a very difficult first few months at United. His talent isn’t in question, of course; but if he wishes to succeed and become a part of Mourinho’s plans, then he offer application and strength. That, given what we know of the Portuguese, is always highly valued.