Jose Mourinho explains why Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been left on the bench

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After arriving from Borussia Dortmund for £26 million, you’d expect Henrikh Mkhitaryan to be a regular starter in the first-team at Manchester United.

However, the Armenian has had to make do with a place on the bench for both the Community Shield against Leicester and the opening Premier League fixture against Bournemouth.

A place in the starting XI appeared almost nailed on for Mkhitaryan - especially after impressing during his three starts against Wigan, Dortmund and Galatasaray in pre-season.


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However, the Portuguese boss opted for Jese Lingard against Leicester - who scored during the 2-1 win - and Juan Mata against Bournemouth - who scored during the 3-1 victory.

And Mourinho has explained exactly why Mkhitaryan has failed to make the starting line-up in a competitive match so far.

Mourinho on Mkhitaryan omission

"Options," Mourinho replied when asked about Mkhitaryan's recent omissions.

"I went to the game against Leicester and I was reading the game and I thought we needed the speed of Jesse Lingard.

"And against Bournemouth, I thought they wanted to press really high, and a player like Mata coming inside could reach some spaces behind the lines of pressure and it could be very useful for us. And I decided to play Rooney both games in that position close to Zlatan and I didn't start with Mikhy.”

No pressure to start him

The Special One has also insisted that, unlike some managers, he feels no pressure to prove to the fans that he made the right choice in signing a certain player.

He claims he won’t be tempted to play Mkhitaryan if it doesn’t suit the team's needs but claims that the 27-year-old will soon get his chance.

"Some managers when they buy players, when it is their decision to buy players, the first thing they think is to protect themselves and to protect their choices,” he added.

“The players they buy have to play all the time. I am not like this. Before me comes the team, and what I think is the best for the team.

"In those two matches, Mata and Lingard were the best options for the team, adapted to the reality of the Premier League so I made that decision.

"But Mkhitaryan is a super football player and he will be given a lot of opportunities this season."

Whether or not Mkhitaryan will make his first start on Friday evening against Southampton remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, Mourinho will not be rushed into playing him if it’s not right for the team.

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Wayne Rooney
Premier League
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho
Borussia Dortmund

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