Manchester United star Henrikh Mkhitaryan paid tribute to the Armenian supporters who backed him at the Olimp-2 stadium and insists the Reds will keep fighting to win every game after a 1-1 draw away to FC Rostov in the Europa League.
The Armenia international returned to the United side for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the 1-0 away win over Saint-Etienne in the round of 32 and he marked it with a goal, scoring the opener from close range. He was backed by fans who made the trip from his homeland to join the travelling Reds in cheering Jose Mourinho’s men on.
It was Mkhitaryan’s third successive away goal in the competition and he accepted it was crucial for the club to go into next week’s second leg at Old Trafford with a slight advantage.
“I am happy to be back and I’m happy to score today,” he told MUTV. “I am thankful [to the Armenian fans] that they came to support me and maybe I did a good present for them, scoring a goal, so they enjoyed watching our game. I think it’s good that we scored an away goal and we have good chances for the second game.”
United were in control of the first half but conceded early in the second period, in what were tricky conditions for the Reds.
“They scored a goal and everything changed,” Mkhitaryan continued. “We played as well as we could on this pitch so I don’t even want to speak about it because, for both sides, the pitch was an awful thing.”
United have conceded just once at Old Trafford in the Europa League this season – Robin van Persie scoring in the 4-1 victory over Fenerbahce – and Mkhitaryan believes the second leg “is going to be more important” than the first.
Mourinho’s side now turn their attentions to Monday night’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final against Premier League leaders Chelsea before welcoming FC Rostov to Manchester on Thursday.