When reports emerged that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was forced to train alone by Jose Mourinho on Sunday, there were major concerns surrounding his Manchester United future.
The Armenian has struggled to play for the Red Devils since arriving this summer and has been left out of the match-day squad in recent weeks, despite being fully fit.
That was the case once again for United’s 0-0 draw at home to Burnley on Saturday, and it appeared the Portuguese boss demanded Mkhitaryan complete a training session by himself the following day.
However, Manchester Evening News have denied that the former Borussia Dortmund was being punished by Mourinho and are reporting that it was Mkhitaryan’s own decision.
The report claims that all of the players were given the day off but the player decided he would make the most of the club’s training complex.
The report suggests that the winger often does additional training sessions, dating back to his Shakhtar Donetsk days with him being described as a ’perfectionist and a hard worker'.
Ahead of the clash with Burnley, Mourinho admitted that the summer signing wasn’t injured and that he was just simply being left out of United’s 18-man squads.
"He is not injured," the manager said. "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.
"Micki needs time to become the top player he knows he can be."
"I don't like to speak about players from other clubs because I don't want to be misinterpreted, but I don't think he'll mind. A player who had a problem to play when he first arrived was Willian. He went through a process and then, after a few months, he became a top player. Then, when we won the championship, he was phenomenal and still is. That is just an example.
"Similarly, Di Maria had to learn a lot about his game when he came into Madrid from Portugal. Sometimes this is what happens. It happens with defenders, but it is often easier for them to adapt than attackers. Some go straight to success and others it takes more time.
"In Micki's case the process was interrupted by injury, which does not help the process of evolution. Being out for a month meant he has had to go through the process of getting match-fit, then once he has that he needs the competitive level to do it. We believe him and, sooner or later, there will be no problem."
And Mourinho will certainly be glad to see reports of Mkhitaryan travelling to the United training ground on his day off to work hard as he hopes to start paying back the £26 million spent on him this summer.
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