The case of Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been brought into even sharper focus by Manchester United’s bad run, Jose Mourinho has not fully explained the reasons that the Armenian midfielder is not getting picked, despite United’s desperate need for goals: they have scored just one goal in their last four league fixtures and have the best Bundesliga player of the last 12 months not even making the bench.
There’s a chance that Mourinho will take tonight as an opportunity to throw Mkhitaryan back into the first team mix. That would hardly be fair. For a player trying to prove themselves, being chucked into a rotated team away in Istanbul is not exactly ideal.
Mourinho’s explanation for the big money signing’s absence so far was that he doesn’t yet “feel the intensity, the aggression, the game without the ball and the competitiveness”. He will feel all that and more if he starts tonight.