Jose Mourinho explained why Henrikh Mkhitaryan was not made the starting line-ups of the two competitive games Manchester United played this season.
Mkhitaryan only came off the bench in the added time of the Community Shield against Leicester and played just the last 15 minutes in Manchester United’s win at Bournemouth.
According to Mourinho, the reason behind it is that there were better options in the squad to beat those opponents. However, this does not mean the Armenian is not going to have an important role this season.
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“Options,” the boss said when asked about Mkhitaryan’s absence in the starting XI, via Manchester United website.
“I was reading the game against Leicester and I felt that we needed the speed of Jesse Lingard and, in the game against Bournemouth, that [Juan] Mata would help guard against their pressing really high. He could reach some spaces behind the line of the pressure and could be very useful for us.
“I decided to play [Wayne] Rooney in both games, close to Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], and I didn’t start with Micki. When some managers buy players, they feel they have to protect their choices by playing the player all the time – I am not like this. Before me, comes the team and what I think is best for the team.
“I felt that Lingard and Mata were better options for the team in these matches, with the reality of the Premier League, so I made that decision.
“I keep saying the same thing, though, that Mkhitaryan is a super football player and will give us a lot during the season.”
The Armenian player joined the Red Devils this summer after they paid a fee of around £26m to Borussia Dortmund.
In Germany, the 27-year-old scored 11 goals and assisted 15 more in his 31 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund. With 82 chances created, he was also the most creative player of his team. The second one was Marco Reus, who created 44. The attacking midfielder also averaged two defensive actions per game and his pass accuracy was 75%.
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Culled from Squawka