Mour­inho be­lieves in Mkhi­taryan

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT -

MANCH­ESTER, Eng­land (AP): José Mour­inho does not doubt that Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan will be a suc­cess at Manch­ester United. It just might take some time. Mkhi­taryan, a $33.5 mil­lion sign­ing from Borus­sia Dort­mund in July, has not played for United since be­ing sub­sti­tuted at half-time in the 21 loss to Manch­ester City in the Premier League on Septem­ber 10. He sus­tained a mi­nor in­jury on in­ter­na­tional duty with Ar­me­nia in early Oc­to­ber but hasn’t even been in United’s 18man squad for re­cent games.

That’s some fall in sta­tus for a play­maker who had 23 goals and 32 as­sists for Dort­mund last sea­son, was the Ger­man league’s player of the year, and was widely touted as one of the shrewdest Premier League sign­ings of the off-sea­son.

Mour­inho said yes­ter­day that Mkhi­taryan is not in­jure, and was just strug­gling to ad­just to the English game.

“Some play­ers find it very easy, whereas oth­ers need more time. They need time to feel the in­ten­sity, the ag­gres­sion, the game with­out the ball, and the com­pet­i­tive­ness,” Mour­inho said.

“The re­al­i­ties are of­ten dif­fer­ent, par­tic­u­larly in terms of the com­pet­i­tive­ness. It doesn’t mat­ter who you are against, you have to play at the high­est level oth­er­wise you will not be able to do it. Micki needs time to

MKHI­TARYAN

be­come the top player he knows he can be.”

That is noth­ing new to Mour­inho.

He said the same hap­pened with Wil­lian at Chelsea and An­gel Di Maria at Real Madrid, in Mour­inho’s two pre­vi­ous coach­ing jobs.

“It hap­pens with de­fend­ers, but it is of­ten eas­ier for them to adapt than at­tack­ers,” Mour­inho said. “In Micki’s case, the process was in­ter­rupted by in­jury, which does not help ... . 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.”

Be­fore that first start for United in the derby, Mkhi­taryan ap­peared three times as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute.

GUARDI­OLA GUAR­AN­TEE AGAINST REL­E­GA­TION

PULIS

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