Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Man Utd have to win Europa League final

Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan says losing the Europa League final against Ajax is not an option.

United go to Stockholm next week after their final Premier League game of the campaign against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday, following a guaranteed sixth-place finish in the top flight.

A win on Wednesday night would see them claim their third trophy of the season after the EFL Cup and Community Shield, and would also hand them a spot in the Champions League group stage for next season.

Jose Mourinho has described the game as the biggest in United’s history, and Mkhitaryan also claimed it is one of the most important of his own career.

Mkhitaryan told Sky Sports: “I can say that of course there is only one choice and that is to win, we are not going to the final to lose.

“We want to win and have to win, for us it is very important to win this trophy, and also the opportunity to play in the Champions League because Manchester United are not the team who has to play three years in a row in the Europa League.

“It’s going to be one of the most important games in my life. I don’t want to lose this opportunity. I am only thinking of winning that game, I know we are able to win, and I know it will be a big pleasure to win it.

“If we are going to win the Europa League final it will be an amazing season for us, because have already won two trophies, and this one would be the third one.

“I will not be nervous because I’m not a kid anymore. I know how to handle the pressure, how to get ready for that game, just play my game and be myself.

“I watched some Ajax games, they are a young team, have very good football players individually, and I can say they are very aggressive, they are trying to play the football they are used to playing.”

Reflecting on his own season, his first at United since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer, the Armenian forward says though it started off as a struggle, he would class the campaign as “not bad”.

Mkhitaryan burst into form around winter following a slow start under Mourinho, but insists there is more to come next year, and he has enjoyed the challenge.

He said: “My first year was not very easy because at the very beginning I had a little bit of struggle, but that’s part of football, I just kept trying to work hard and wait for my second chance, which I took very well.

“I used it, and then I started to have good times. It wasn’t a bad year, a normal year, maybe I am able to do more, but for this year it’s not bad, and I will try to do more next year.

“Of course I am always positive, and I know I’m capable of doing more. I’m sure I will do more, so I’ll keep working hard with a positive mind, and will wait for next season to score more and assist more.

“Manchester United have big ambitions and are always trying to do the best and the maximum, I like that challenge to do something new and challenge myself also.”

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