Thursday 20 July 2017

Henrikh Mkhitaryan bites back at accusation he is a mercenary who joined Man United for money

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been key in Manchester United's upturn
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been key in Manchester United's upturn
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has finally responded to claims he only joined Manchester United for financial reasons last summer, after some disparaging remarks about him emerged from Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke in an interview last year.

Armenian midfielder Mkhitaryan moved from Dortmund to United for a reported £27m, with Watzke going public in his criticism of a player who has recently emerged as a star man in Jose Mourinho’s line-up.

Accusing Mkhitaryan of ducking responsibility by not taking a penalty shoot-out against Bayern Munich last season and suggesting it was ‘quite strange’ that he swapped his settled environment at Dortmund for a move to United, it was clear that Dortmund’s chief was not impressed with the player’s attitude.

Now Mkhitaryan has hit back in feisty fashion, as he insisted he moved to United for sporting reasons.

“If it was only about money for me, I would have moved from Shakhtar Donetsk to Anzhi Makhachkala and not to Borussia Dortmund, but I didn’t want that,” he told Bild in Germany. “I wanted to develop myself further.”

Mkhitaryan also addressed Watzke’s criticism of his refusal to take a spot kick against Bayern in last season’s German Cup Final.

“If he wants to assess me on the basis of one game, that’s wrong,” he added. “He’s probably forgotten what I did the whole season before.

“I would have scored a penalty in Berlin, but there’s a coach and 11 players on the pitch and we discussed who would take one.”

Mkhitaryan has battled back from a difficult start under Jose Mourinho’s watch at United and he went on to suggest he is enjoying working with the Portuguese tactician.

“I believe that he has trust in me,” he added. “That’s why I always want to give my best on the pitch for him.

“He’s a special coach and expects special things, you just need to know that.”

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