Henrikh Mkhitaryan has insisted he will always give his best for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United this season.
The Armenian, following a shaky first start against Manchester City back in September, was consigned to a lengthy period on the sidelines at Old Trafford, with his next start coming in late November.
Since then, however, Mkhitaryan has been a mesmerising influence under Mourinho, producing a number of effervescent displays going forward – the most recent being his demolition of Leicester City last weekend.
And the 27-year-old, speaking to Bild, made it clear that he would commit everything to the cause for Mourinho.
“Yes, I believe that he has confidence in me, and therefore I will always give the best for him on the pitch,” he said. “He is a special coach and expects special things from you – that you have to just know.”
It was widely believed – though never backed up with any actual evidence – that Mkhitaryan’s relationship with Mourinho has soured at Old Trafford.
From an outsider’s view, it looked as if the 54-year-old had opted for a particular set-up that excluded Mkhitaryan – a set-up that failed, a set-up that demanded the Armenian’s introduction, only to continually ignore the Bundesliga Player of the Year, with many hypothesising that including Mkhitaryan would be tantamount with admitting that, actually, he had picked the wrong approach at Man United.
But the truth is that Mourinho, having closely watched Mkhitaryan, believed that the 28-year-old needed some time on the sidelines, away from the firing line and instead able to survey, judge and learn from how the team operated before being reintroduced. And Mkhitaryan will know that such a move has paid monumental dividends this season.