Jose Mourinho has insisted Henrikh Mkhitaryan does not deserve a bench spot after dropping the winger against Bournemouth.
The 28 year old Armenian international is being linked with a move away from the Theatre of Dreams in January. He has only been able to secure just 19 minutes of first team game time since November 5th.
The former Borussia Dortmund man has not been involved in seven of the last 18 squads. His only appearance in the first team since November came as a second-half substitute during the 1-0 win over Brighton.
Mourinho comments on Mkhitaryan’s axe
Mourinho was asked about Mkhitaryan’s absence in his post-match press conference following the Reds’ 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
He stated that his plethora of options in midfield and attacking positions means that there is competition for every place in the starting line-up and on the bench.
“I can only have six [outfield] players on the bench and I try to have some balance on the bench,” Mourinho said.
“[Against Bournemouth] I had two defenders and [Daley] Blind who can play in different areas. I had Ashley Young to cover all of the wing and the wing-back position. I had [Ander] Herrera as a midfield player, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] as a striker and Marcus [Rashford] as a second striker and winger.
“I played [Anthony] Martial, [Juan] Mata and [Jesse] Lingard in the team. To have Micki (Mkhitaryan) means that I don’t have one of them and, in this moment, I believe the other ones they deserve [the chance to play].”
United boss believes the title race is not over
As Romelu Lukaku scored just his second goal in ten Premier League games, the Red Devils scraped past Bournemouth. But the Special One insists he might as well go on holiday, if he feels United cannot claw back the 11-point gap to rivals Manchester City.
Mourinho said: “It is only over in May. If it is over now I’ll go on holiday to Brazil or Los Angeles. “We showed a very good attitude, a very good determination to win.
“Every team, after a defeat, tries not to have a second defeat. “They wanted to win the match and I could see that from minute one to the last second.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan made a sublime start to the season, scoring on five goals in his first three appearances and looking like he was set to become an integral part of the Mourinho machine. But a string of poor performances has seen him face an axe for the second time.
Mkhitaryan will be working hard in a bid to return when the Reds return to action on Sunday in the Premier League against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. If he doesn’t return to regular game time soon, a move away from United seems inevitable.
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