Hen­rikh a player off the pace

Irish Examiner - Sport - - SOCCER -

The cu­ri­ous case of Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan — so off the pace at the start of last sea­son that Jose Mour­inho ban­ished him from his first team squad only for the Ar­me­nian to come good af­ter Christ­mas — be­comes ever more cu­ri­ous. Un­like last sea­son, Mour­inho is showing abundant pa­tience and be­lief in Mkhi­taryan, usu­ally in the num­ber 10 role be­hind lone striker Romelu Lukaku.

But his form re­mains, at best, patchy. The out­ing against Spurs was an­other such anony­mous dis­play, with the ex­cep­tion of a cou­ple of fleet­ing mo­ments in the sec­ond half, when he threat­ened the op­po­si­tion goal. Mkhi­taryan was an ob­vi­ous can­di­date to make way as Mour­inho looked to liven up his team af­ter barely an hour and his re­moval may be a sign of things to come.

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