Monday 20 August 2018

Arsenal new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan says he did not suit Jose Mourinho's style at Manchester United

Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Mark Critchley

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has suggested that he struggled to make an impact at Manchester United because he was not well-suited to Jose Mourinho's preferred style of play.

Mkhitaryan brought his 18-month spell at Old Trafford to an end in January and joined Arsenal as part of the high-profile deal which saw Alexis Sanchez move in the opposite direction.

The 29-year-old scored 13 goals in 63 appearances for United and was influential in their triumphant Europa League campaign last season, yet still failed to establish himself as a regular under Mourinho.

Mkhitaryan was left out of United’s matchday squad on ten separate occasions in the months leading up to his departure, despite being fully fit throughout, with Jesse Lingard preferred in the No 10 position.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat against Manchester City on Thursday night, the Armenia international claimed that he struggled to fit into the ‘philosophy’ at United.

"Everyone knows Arsenal play offensive football and I love to play offensive football,” he said. “In Manchester we were playing offensive football too but not in every game, so it was quite different.

“I don't want to blame anyone because every manager at every club has a different philosophy. Maybe I couldn't fit perfectly in the Manchester football.”

Mkhitaryan arrived at United from Borussia Dortmund during the summer of 2016 but was made to wait for a sustained run of starts as Mourinho claimed his new signing needed time to adapt to English football.

The playmaker gradually won his manager’s trust and started the current campaign as United’s first-choice No 10, but his playing time was limited once again after several subdued performances.

Mkhitaryan has made six appearances for Arsenal since his move to the Emirates in January, registering five assists.

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