His omission has baffled Manchester United fans all season, but it looks like we will see finally see Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a Manchester United shirt this week after Jose Mourinho confirmed that the out-of-favour Armenian will face Feyenoord in Thursday’s crucial Europa League tie at Old Trafford.
Mkhitaryan, a £26.3 million summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, has made just six appearances for United this season — starting only one game, the 2-1 derby defeat against Manchester City in September.
The 27-year-old has made just one senior appearance since being replaced at half-time by Mourinho in the City game, when he was used as a second-half substitute in the Europa League defeat against Fenerbahce in Istanbul three weeks ago.
But after once again overlooking Mkhitaryan for the weekend encounter with Arsenal, Mourinho has insisted that the player will be involved against Feyenoord in a game in which United must avoid defeat to retain hope of progression to the knock-out stages of the Europa League.
“He is getting closer and I told him on Saturday that he is going to be involved in the game against Feyenoord,” Mourinho said. “He is trying.
“Obviously, he is not happy, but he is transforming his frustration in a good way, which is close the mouth and work hard and try to adapt.”
Mkhitaryan has failed to recover from his performance against City, when he played against Pep Guardiola’s team after suffering an injury while on international duty with Armenia.
Mourinho has spoken publicly of the need for the midfielder to adjust to the pace and physical demands of English football, but the former Chelsea manager has remained reluctant to hand Mkhitaryan the game time in which to acclimatise to the Premier League.
Mourinho believes that, with proper game management, Mkhitaryan can overcome his difficult start at United.
“I told him this [Arsenal] was not the game for you,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t think he needs 10 or 20 minutes from the bench.
“I think you need a good game and you need to either start or, if not, to come for the second half.
“He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.”