Several months are signing from Dortmund, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is finally beginning to adjust to life at Manchester United.
The £30m man struggled to make his mark at Old Trafford. A substitute in United’s first four competitive fixtures, he didn’t start a game until September’s Manchester derby.
Mkhitaryan, returning from an injury sustained on international duty, struggled to adjust to the intensity of the fixture. He subsequently spent a prolonged period on the sidelines due to injury and Jose Mourinho’s reluctance to pick him.
Several factors contributed to that. Mkhitaryan struggled to prove himself fully prepared for the physical and mental aspects of English football.
There were also well-founded doubts over his temperament. Mourinho noticed that it was the Armenian who complained loudest about life in Manchester and the weather. All signs of his continuing struggle to adjust to his new surroundings. All signs which counted against him when it came to winning a first team place.
But having waited patiently for several months, Mkhitaryan found himself back in Mourinho’s first team plans. He played starring roles in both the 4-0 defeat of Feyenoord and this week’s 4-1 victory over West Ham United. Man of the Match in both games, he collected two assists in the latter EFL Cup quarter-final win.
Jose Happy With His Man
Speaking to MUTV Mourinho impressed by Mkhitaryan’s performances:
“I’m so happy because it was against a Premier League team with Premier League qualities and characteristics,” said the United manager.
“That really showed his evolution because against Feyenoord we could think that it was a different profile, but this was against a proper and typical Premier League team.
“Micki performed this way and we are really happy, because we know the reason why we bought him; we were waiting for his adaptation and it looks like it’s coming.”
Sunday’s Premier League game against Everton sees United face a team which sits a point and one place them in the table. Mourinho would do well to strike while the iron is hot and include Mkhitaryan in the starting line-up.
He looked particularly dangerous against West Ham on Wednesday and United could use the creativity in the wide areas. It’s been a major struggle for them to create a consistent threat in those positions this season. A £30m signing is the exactly the player to provide that danger.