Henrikh Mkhitaryan opens up about Man United’s intense competition for starting roles

by Leo Nieboer

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has opened up about the intense competition for places in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI following Manchester United’s 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Armenian, rested during Man United’s game against Hull on Thursday, was involved from the start against Warren Joyce’s men.

He capped off an effervescent display – hallmarked by a number of neat touches and penetrating runs – with a well-taken goal in the 74th minute.

And Mkhitaryan, speaking after the game, made it clear that competition for a place in Mourinho’s XI was fierce.

“Manchester United have loads of talent, everyone has to be ready to play,” he said.

“You get your best chance to play the next game when you perform well. The youngsters have played their first game and we have to help them, when a young guy comes in you need to advise them for their future.”

Mourinho fielded something of a second-string line-up against Wigan; no Paul Pogba, no Michael Carrick, no Zlatan Ibrahimovic, no Ander Herrera, no David de Gea, no Antonio Valencia, no Phil Jones, no Eric Bailly, and no Marcus Rashford – replaced instead by a series of youngsters and fringe players.

And yet, even with so many big names resting on the sidelines, Mourinho’s men managed to display the same level of power and efficiency going forward, comfortably dismantling a rigidly set-up Wigan side after a stultified opening 40 minutes. It was, above anything, a firm indicator of the fantastic squad depth at the 54-year-old’s disposal.

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