Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has thanked Jurgen Klopp for the advice that helped him through a tough start to his Old Trafford career
Liverpool boss Klopp counselled the player through a difficult time when they were at Borussia Dortmund in 2013.
Earlier this season, Mkhitaryan, 28, did not play in the league for 10 weeks and remembered Klopp’s previous advice.
“I am thankful to Klopp. He worked on my personality and the psychological part,” he told BBC’s Football Focus.
The Armenian spent two seasons working under Klopp in Germany before the coach quit, later taking over at Liverpool in October 2015.
Within eight months, the playmaker was following his old boss to the Premier League, joining United for a reported £26.3m.
However, after being substituted at half-time during United’s 2-1 home defeat by Manchester City on 10 September, he did not play in the Premier League again until 27 November.
“At Dortmund, I was very stressed after a few games when we were playing really bad,” added Mkhitaryan, who has scored five times this season.
“Klopp showed me the way. He supported me and told me I had to keep my head up because good things were coming. He helped me to become a player.”
However, he says Klopp is a different person to United manager Jose Mourinho.
“They are both very friendly and very good at their jobs but the way they work is different.
“It is the first year under Jose’s management and we are working very hard. He tells us what he wants to see. Of course, it is not very easy when you have a new manager.
“You have to adapt to him and the team, the training sessions and the games. At the beginning we had a little bit of difficulties but then we started winning in November.”
The move to the Premier League was another step on a remarkable journey for Mkhitaryan, who speaks six languages – including English – and is the son of one of Armenia’s most famous footballers.
Father Hamlet was also an Armenian international and one of the first players from the country to play outside of the old Soviet Union. He died of a brain tumour when Mkhitaryan was seven.
“He was my drive, my goal, my dream,” he said. “I did not feel the true impact when he died but I knew that he was watching me from the sky. He has to be very proud.”