Manchester United Fans Can Breathe A Sigh Of Relief As Mourinho Confirms There Is No Rift With His Midfielder

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has dismissed reports of a rift with Henrikh Mkhitaryan by explaining that the Armenian’s exclusion from the squad which faced Newcastle United was completely based on his current form.

Manchester United came back to winning ways after that heartfelt defeat against Chelsea by conquering Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United 4-1 and the victory wasn’t the only positive for the hosts. The likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rojo marked their return, but a certain Henrikh Mkhitaryan had to watch his side from the stands as he was not even named in the matchday squad.

The Armenian has been a regular fixture for Jose Mourinho this season and has played at least 45 minutes in United’s previous 11 fixtures. He started off the current season quite brilliantly, providing 5 assists in his first 5 games, but eventually faded away as the season progressed.

There happens to be a healthy competition at the club for his position and now that Mourinho has a fit squad – apart from Phil Jones and Eric Bailly – Mkhitaryan faces a potential threat to his regular spot.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (right)

Mourinho was asked whether there is a rift between him and the Armenian and the Portuguese simply replied,

I think that is a bit frustrating for me, he said. The fact that there is always a question about some player who is not playing or in the best of his form, no questions about Martial, no questions about Chris Smalling, it’s always about players in a certain moment, a certain match, a certain period, who didn’t play or was not my option. The story is always the thing.

“In some positions where you don’t have injuries, you don’t have options, and always the same players are playing, in the midfield it was the same a bit. No Carrick, no Pogba, no Fellaini and every match was Herrera and Matic and the kid McTominay had his opportunities to play.

“In this moment, we have Pogba, Fellaini, Matic, Herrera, McTominay, so I can imagine next week I can imagine you will ask why is this player not playing. Mkhitaryan is not playing because we had lots of options for that match.

“I decided to play Rashford and Martial together. The question for many weeks was why Rashford and Martial don’t play together and now it’s why isn’t Mkhitaryan playing. The answer is very simple: Until the international board change the rules I can only start with 11.”

This should come as a huge relief as Mkhitaryan, despite his poor form, is a top quality player. We cannot afford to lose him to controversies and it is only a matter of time before he recaptures his form. Let’s hope he does it soon.