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Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Jose Mourinho explains Henrikh Mkhitaryan's recent absence at Man Utd

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan's situation at Manchester United has become a cause for concern.

Since completing a £26 million summer transfer, the 27-year-old playmaker has made just four Premier League appearances under Jose Mourinho, three of which from the bench.

A return against Manchester City in the EFL Cup earlier this week was widely expected yet Mkhitaryan once again failed to make United's squad, despite Mourinho recently confirming the Armenian had successfully recovered from a thigh injury.

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Fans have since demanded an explanation from the Portuguese manager - and understandably so - amidst fears he could be sold in January.

Well, ahead of United's clash with Burnley on Saturday, Mourinho duly explained exactly why he hasn't been playing Mkhitaryan.

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"[Mkhitaryan] is not injured," he told MUTV. "Sometimes I confuse the word 'fit' in the English language.

"Sometimes you can say that it is 'not injured', but you could also say that you are in great condition and ready to compete. That is different for me as we use different words in Portuguese for the different situations.

"Mkhitaryan is not injured, he is training with the team 100 per cent.

"Some players find it very easy [to adapt to the Premier League] whereas others need more time. They need time to feel the intensity, the aggression, the game without the ball and the competitiveness.

Manchester United v Southampton - Premier League

"The realities are often different, particularly in terms of the competitiveness. It doesn't matter who you are against, you have to play at the highest level otherwise you will not be able to do it.

"Micki needs time to become the top player he knows he can be."

If it wasn't for the fact Mourinho has been so hell-bent on starting Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, who have both been poor recently, his theory would make complete sense.

Only game time will help Mkhitaryan adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League, so Mourinho leaving him out of his match-day squads is counter productive.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

However, judging by the ex-Borussia Dortmund star's prediction in pre-season, a difficult start was always to be expected.

"It doesn't matter if they buy me for, I don't know, £38 million or £40 million, I am not guaranteed to play the games," Mkhitaryan said, per Manchester Evening News.

"So I am trying to do my best during the training to earn this place to play and then we will see, because I don't think I will play every game, depending on the tactical situation, depending on the opponent.

"But I will do everything to try and help the team."

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Football
Premier League
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Jose Mourinho

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