Ilkay Gundogan has dig at former team mate and new Manchester rival Henrikh Mkhitaryan
In what might be construed as an act of partisan brinksmanship, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan has told Manchester United fans not to expect an immediate impact from his former Borussia Dortmund teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Gundogan and Mkhitaryan both departed Dortmund this summer, along with Matts Hummels, for big money moves to the Manchester giants as they seek to rebuild under Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
Indeed, the German midfielder, despite a prolonged knee injury, was Guardiola’s first major signing - for roughly £20m- since assuming the reigns at the Etihad.
Soon after, Mkhitaryan became Mourinho’s third acquisition after Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimović, with Paul Pogba thought to be the fourth.
Gundogan spent three seasons with the Armenian playmaker at the Westfalenstadion, two of which were under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
According to the City recruit, Mkhitaryan took a considerable amount of time to find his feet after arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk
“He has been at Dortmund for three years. The first two years were not so easy for him, to be honest.
“He’s a player who needs self-confidence, who needs to play every time and prove himself to get better and better.
“At this time we (Dortmund) were not so successful, so it was not easy for him to adapt. He had a few problems.”
Indeed, last term, under Thomas Tuchel, Mkhitaryan was a revelation, netting 18 goals and finishing on a league high-15 assists, as Dortmund took the runners-up spot in the Bundesliga. Which, of course, Gundogan was suitably impressed by.
“But when you see how he played last year, it was really incredible. Maybe he was the most important player for us last year.
“If he can go on like this, he will have a big impact Manchester United and a big plus. It’s difficult for us to beat them, of course, but I wish him the best and to stay healthy.”