Jose Mourinho insisted that Henrikh Mkhitaryan demonstrated his worth against a Premier League side following Manchester United’s 4-1 win over West Ham United in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
The 53-year-old, speaking after Man United’s 4-0 win over Feyenoord last week (a game that saw Mkhitaryan excel), urged the Armenian to replicate his brilliance against Premier League opposition.
And Mkhitaryan, receiving another chance to impress from the beginning, wasted no time when it came to formulating a response to Mourinho’s demand, producing another spellbinding performance against Slaven Bilic’s side.
Mourinho was quick to praise the 27-year-old for what was an effervescent display.
“Well I’m so happy today because today was against a Premier League team, with Premier League qualities and Premier League characteristics,” he said.
“And that showed clearly is a relation because against Feyenoord, where we could think okay it’s a different profile of football.
“But today was against a proper and a typical Premier League team and Mikhi could perform this way.
“So we are really happy because we know the reason why we bought him and we were waiting for his adaptation and it looks like it’s coming.”
If there were any remaining doubts over Mkhitaryan’s place in the starting XI, they’re now gone. This was not just creative brilliance on display here; this was sheer footballing genius. The 27-year-old sees and exploits more gaps than anybody else on the pitch, often making passes that even you – despite having the luxury of having the whole pitch laid out in front of your very eyes – fail to spot.
The Armenian’s presence, above anything, refines United’s attacking. Everything is directed with more purpose and precision, with Mkhitaryan wreaking havoc at the core of proceedings.
United fans will be desperate to see the Armenian receive a run of games under Mourinho in the coming months.