Daley Blind has heaped praise on Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of Manchester United’s Europa League with FC Rostov, noting that it was a “pleasure to play” with the Armenian.
The 28-year-old picked up a hamstring knock during Man United’s 1-0 win over Saint Etienne and missed the League Cup final as a result.
Mourinho has confirmed that Mkhitaryan, also absent for United’s 1-1 draw with AFC Bournemouth last weekend, will be available for selection against Rostov.
And Blind, speaking at a press conference in Russia, noted that the Armenian’s reintroduction served as a big boost for the visitors.
“He’s a great player with many qualities – it’s a pleasure to play with him.”
Our no.17 is also pleased Mkhitaryan is back in the squad: "He's a great player with many qualities – it's a pleasure to play with him." pic.twitter.com/YDH8pCPOH5
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 8, 2017
United will have to contend with a truly awful pitch on Thursday night. Pictures of the surface have revealed a dusty, bobbly, overly bouncy and most definitely dangerous terrain for the clash with Ivan Daniliants, and supporters will be desperate to see no grim injuries emerge as a result.
But this is not the first challenging surface embarked upon by United this season. Their visit to Zorya Luhansk in December was hallmarked by an icy, hard and yet somehow slippery surface. And the difference on that night was Mkhitaryan – the man who managed to dance on the ice whilst others hopelessly laboured, skipping past the entire Zorya defence before breaking the deadlock.
The 28-year-old’s presence on Thursday night could prove to be the key difference once again.