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EPL 2016/17: Henrikh Mkhitaryan edging closer to Manchester United return, says Jose Mourinho

2.77K   //    21 Oct 2016, 17:06 IST
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United controls the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on September 10, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his last appearance before the injury in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford 

Jose Mourinho gave an explanation to why he excluded the Armenian captain Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the squad for the Europa League game against Fenerbahce. Mkhitaryan has only made three appearances for Manchester United this season due to a thigh injury and the manager has hinted at an imminent return. 

Also read: EPL 2016/17: John Terry suffers injury setback ahead of Manchester United clash   

Mkhitaryan hasn’t played for more than a month since their derby defeat to Manchester City on  September 10th.  Earlier this week, the Manchester United manager had declared that the player was free from a prolonged injury and the fans expected to see their summer signing back in action.

Mkhitaryan must fight for his place

However, Mkhitaryan watched the game from the director’s box and Mourinho revealed his reasons suggesting he must fight for his place even though he is ready.

"The situation is that we played with [Jesse] Lingard, with [Juan] Mata and [Anthony] Martial," Mourinho told reporters as he revealed the reason behind Mkhitaryan's absence. 

"I am not an Einstein, I don't know a tactical system to play with four wingers at the same time. He has to work more to get the intensity and the real fitness to play at the high level,” the Portuguese added.

"To have him here tonight on the bench and to give him 15 to 20 minutes, like I did with Memphis [Depay], I thought it would be better for him to work the way he did yesterday and much harder, obviously. I thought it would be much better for him to work today, like he did in the specific session than to wait for his chance. But he is ready. He is ready very soon,” he continued.

Also read: UEFA Europa League 2016/17: Jose Mourinho says “Einsteins” need to stop criticising Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the team that drew with Liverpool at Anfield on Monday. He restored captain Wayne Rooney in the leading striker's role and recalled Jese Lingard, Anthony Martial and Michael Carrick in midfield amongst other changes.

“I choose this team because I felt it was the team to win it and because I felt after such an intense game on Monday that some of these players would be in better conditions to perform than others, but I start thinking about Chelsea tomorrow.”

Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday and it’ll be interesting to see if Mourinho risks disturbing a competitive midfield by starting Mkhitaryan against his former club.

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