Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed the clubs recent 4-1 victory over Fenerbache in the Europa League due to a lack of match fitness.
“One thing is fit and not injured, another is match fitness, match intensity and ready to play this game. Mourinho told BTsport ( quote via the Mirror)
Mkhitaryan hasn’t featured for United since been taken off at half time during the 2-1 loss to Manchester City at Old Trafford last month.
It was widely expected that the Armenian would feature against Fenerbahce on Thursday night but wasn’t even named amongst the substitute’s bench.
Speaking in his post-match news conference Jose Mourinho confirmed that Mkhitaryan was available for selection but that he chose not to pick the midfielder as he wasn’t fully up to match fitness.
It has been no secret that the Armenian has endured a slow start to life at Old Trafford. Arguably the standout performer in the Bundesliga last term for Borussia Dortmund Mkhitaryan has found it difficult to establish himself in the Manchester United side.
Few if any can deny just how talented of a player Mkhitaryan is but with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Ashley Young and Memphis Depay all ahead of the Armenian in the pecking order at the theatre of dreams he will undoubtedly face a tough challenge winning a place back in Jose Mourinho’s starting eleven.
In order to take Manchester United back to the top Mourinho needs players who are at the top of their game fully fit and firing and in Mkhitaryan he simply does not fill that requirement at this moment in time.
He is a man that needs games to regain full fitness and with Manchester United competing on all four front this season Mkhitaryan will undoubtedly be given plenty of opportunity to impress Mourinho as the season progresses and it will be then up to the Armenian as to whether he takes those chances or not.