Friday, 28 October 2016

Jose Mourinho says Henrikh Mkhitaryan not injured for Manchester United

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has defended keeping Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the sidelines, but says the midfielder will be just fine.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has struggled to kick off his United career
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has struggled to kick off his United career
Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Burnley, Mourinho oozed with satisfaction over the players' efforts in the midweek EFL Cup victory over neighbours City and being able to repay the faith back to the fans.

He also described under-used midfielder Michael Carrick as "phenomenal", but the Portuguese coach also explained why Mkhitaryan continued to remain out of the first team, having made the initial 20-man squad against City only to be omitted from the final 18.

The 27-year-old Armenian, a summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund, has not played since being substituted at half-time on his first United start against City on September 10 and returned to training from a thigh injury four weeks ago.

"He is not injured," Mourinho said. "Sometimes I confuse the word 'fit' in the English language. Sometimes you can say that it is 'not injured', but you could also say that it is 'in great condition and ready to compete'.

"That is different for me as we use different words in Portuguese for the different situations. Mkhitaryan is not injured, he is training with the team 100 per cent."

Asked if it takes some players longer to adapt to the English game, Mourinho added: "Some players find it very easy whereas others need more time. They need time to feel the intensity, the aggression, the game without the ball and the competitiveness.

"The realities are often different, particularly in terms of the competitiveness. It doesn't matter who you are against, you have to play at the highest level, otherwise you will not be able to do it.

"Mhiki needs time to become the top player he knows he can be.We believe him and, sooner or later, there will be no problem."

After the 4-0 drubbing by Chelsea last weekend, United's 1-0 win over Pep Guardiola's City was a much-needed boost for a team who are already six points behind the top three after only nine games.
Jose Mourinho and Conte
Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge last weekend was a miserable one
It has been a stuttering start for Mourinho and he was asked when fans could expect to see the best from his team.

"I don't know, but what I know is that in the last seven matches we lost one and it is better to lose one match 4-0 than to lose four matches 1-0," the former Chelsea boss added.

"To lose four matches 1-0 - that's 12 points, one match 4-0 is three points, so our last run of results is not bad.

"Performance levels are even better because, for example, we lost two points against Stoke and I think that was our best match by far in the season in terms of the quality of our football.

"It was the dynamic of our football, the creation of opportunities and it could easily be a match to score four, five, six goals so the run of results and performance is not bad.

"But we are a team in the process of building up. You don't do that with one transfer window, you don't do that in three or four months. In this moment we just think about game by game, and now it is Burnley and Burnley is difficult, I know that."