Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan will play on Thursday night when Feyenoord visit Old Trafford in the Europa League,according to Manchester United’sofficial website.
The Armenia international joined from Borussia Dortmund in July and has only made six competitive appearances in all competitions since then, partly due to a couple of unfortunate injuries but also because the manager feels his recruit requires more time to adapt to the rigours of English football.
Mkhitaryan watched from the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand on Saturday as the Reds drew 1-1 with Arsenal in the Premier League. However, the boss has since revealed a plan for the 27-year-old forward.
Asked by reporters if Mkhitaryan is closer to playing, Mourinho said: “Yes. I told him today [Saturday] that he is going to be involved in the game against Feyenoord. He is trying. Obviously he is not happy but he is transforming his frustration in a good way, which is to close the mouth, work hard and try to adapt.
“I told him ‘this was not the game for you’ because I don’t think he needs 10 or 20 minutes from the bench. I said ‘I think you need a good game and you need to either start or, if not, to come for the second half’. He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.”
Mkhitaryan’s appearance adds further intrigue to Thursday’s big game against Feyenoord, the Eredivisie leaders who beat United in the reverse fixture earlier in the Europa League campaign.
The Reds are currently third in Group A with six points from 12 and require a victory under the Old Trafford floodlights in order to leapfrog the second-placed Dutch club into the two qualification places, ahead of the final pool game against Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in December.