Jose Mourinho has admitted that Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is struggling to cope with the demands of playing for the club.

The Armenian was omitted from the squad to face Arsenal at the weekend as his manager felt that the match was too pressurised for him to take part.

“I told him, ‘This [Arsenal] was not the game for you, I don’t think you need 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 (on) for the second half’,” Mourinho is quoted as saying in The Telegraph.

“He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.”

Mourinho confirmed that the summer signing from Borussia Dortmund will be “involved” in Thursday’s crucial Europa League home tie with Feyenoord, but did not say whether that would be from the start or coming off the bench.

The Red Devils are sitting third in Group A and will be knocked out this week if they lose to the Dutch outfit and Fenerbahce beat Zorya Luhansk.

Mkhitaryan arrived at Old Trafford in July with a weight of expectation on his shoulders, coming off the back of an outstanding season with Dortmund during which he racked up 23 goals and 32 assists in all competitions.

However, a combination of injuries and a lack of match sharpness has limited his involvement for United to just six appearances in the opening months of the campaign.

There is no doubt that when fit and firing the 27-year-old can be a fantastic weapon for his new side and Mourinho will be hoping that a run-out in Europe’s secondary club competition will be the confidence boost that he requires.


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