Henrikh Mkhitaryan predicted he wasn't guaranteed to play in an interview in pre-season

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When Jose Mourinho signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan for £26 million this summer, many believed that the Armenian was going to help propel Manchester United to the league title.

After scoring 23 goals in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund, United fans were understandably rather excited about the prospect of Mkhitaryan playing alongside the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

However, it took a couple of weeks before Jose Mourinho gave him his first start in a competitive match.

After he was named on the bench for the Community Shield clash with Leicester and Premier League matches against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull, Mourinho came out to defend his decision to leave him out of the starting line-up.

"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 said.

“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.”

Mkhitaryan was finally given an opportunity to impress from the start against Manchester City but was hauled off at half-time after a lacklustre display.

He hasn’t played since through a combination of injuries and Mourinho leaving him out of the squad.

Mkhitaryan's prediction

But it shouldn't come as a surprise to Mkhitaryan. That's because, in an interview he gave on his club's pre-season tour of China, he predicted he wasn't guaranteed to play despite his hefty price-tag.

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

"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.”

While Mkhitaryan may have guessed he wasn't going to play regularly, he would surely have expected to play a bit more than he has. 

However, if he keeps working hard to try and impress Mourinho, surely it won't be long before the Portuguese boss gives him another chance.

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Wayne Rooney
Rio Ferdinand
Premier League
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho
Borussia Dortmund

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