Jose Mourinho explains Henrikh Mkhitaryan's absence against Fenerbahce

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Of the four players Jose Mourinho bought in the summer, it’s clear which one is turning out the worst.

Eric Bailly has been superb, winning United’s Player of the Month award in August. The Ivorian has the potential to join the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in United’s extensive list of great centre-backs.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasted no time in finding the back of the net and Paul Pogba was mightily impressive last night against Fenerbahce.

The same sort of success cannot be attributed yet to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, however.

The playmaker has not played since September 10 and was left out of United’s squad for the Fenerbahce fixture. Anyone else getting a sense that Mkhitaryan is going the same was as Angel di Maria at Old Trafford?

The former Borussia Dortmund man, who arrived for £26 million in July, returned to training three weeks ago after picking up a thigh injury while playing for Armenia.

But according to Mourinho, Mkhitaryan is still building up his match fitness.

Short of minutes

After watching his team cruise to a 4-1 win in the Europa League, the Portuguese explained Mkhitaryan’s absence

"One thing is fit and not injured, another thing is match fitness, match intensity and ready to play this game," Mourinho told BT Sport, per the Manchester Evening News.

"I play with Lingard and Martial and I have Rashford and Memphis on the bench, I cannot play with everyone at the same time. Mikhi has not played for a long time."

Mikhi's return is close

Good news for United comes in the fact that the 27-year-old is close to a return.

"I am not an Einstein, I don't know a tactical system to play with four wingers at the same time,” Mourinho told reporters, per Goal.

“He [Mkhitaryan] has to work more to get the intensity and the real fitness to play at the high level.

"To have him here tonight on the bench and to give him 15 to 20 minutes, like I did with Memphis, I thought it would be better for him to work the way he did yesterday and much harder, obviously.

“I thought it would be much better for him to work today, like he did in the specific session, than to wait for his chance. But he is ready. He is ready very soon."

With Mata producing an excellent display against Fenerbahce, and Lingard getting on the scoresheet, Mkhitaryan’s place in the starting line-up is far from assured.

Will Mkhitaryan flourish or turn into a flop at Man United? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Wayne Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Manchester United
Europa League
Jose Mourinho

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