Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his Manchester United debut in the 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Armenian, who recently made the move from Borussia Dortmund in a £26.3 million deal, played a crucial part in his new team’s victory and believed that he will improve ahead of the new season. Mkhitaryan played 45 minutes against Wigan, a game which was 0-0 after the first half, with United dominating the game. Speaking to MUTV which was reported by Sky Sports News HQ about the match, Mkhitaryan said:
“I would say it was a good game. The first half was a little bit difficult because we couldn’t score a goal.
“But whatever, we made a good game and thank you to my team-mates. I was trying to feel comfortable. I think day by day it will be better.”
Mkhitaryan, who will be making the step from Bundesliga football to the Premier League this season, might find it tough like other before him. Mesut Özil made the move a few years ago and took time to get used to the clearly different league, with many teams vying for glory at the end of the season – in Germany there may be two or three teams from the start of the season who may look like title candidates, but usually by the three-quarter point, there is a clear winner. When asked how he was settling into his new club, the Armenian said:
“I am trying, because the first days are always very difficult. You have to get to know your team-mates and their qualities, so I am trying to learn everything very quickly.
“Game by game it will be better and better. Of course we’re getting ready for the new season so we are trying to do everything the coach is asking from us.”
Mkhitaryan was a signing that the club needed to make a few season’s ago. He is currently the top assist maker in Germany, racking up 24 in the two domestic competitions; Bundesliga (15) and DFB-Pokal (2) and the UEFA Europa League (7) last season. Mkhitaryan also scored 19 goals himself in all competitions, which in effect would have brought 43 goals to the Old Trafford club last season, if his form in Germany would have been identical to that in England, which may not have been the case. This season will be an exciting one – having Eric Bailly. another debutant against Wigan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Mkhitaryan at the club has made my mouth water in anticipation – if Jose Mourinho manages to sign a player like Paul Pogba or Blaise Matuidi, the squad will be strong ahead of the new season. Mourinho seems to be impressed with Mkhitaryan after seeing him play 45 minutes against Wigan, saying:
“Mkhitaryan is a top-class player and currently at the best stage for a footballer – 27/28 years old.
“He is magnificent the way he thinks about football, he thinks very quickly and it’s so sweet how he touches the ball.
“He can play in different positions behind the striker. He doesn’t have the sharpness yet but his performance was very positive.”
Mourinho has done well in the short space of time he has been United’s manager – signing three players, sorting out another two fixtures in pre-season; Wigan Athletic and Galatasaray and getting the team smiling again. Last season we saw some dire football. United were dominant in their matches for much of the season, but being dominant did not always give them the victory they needed. It is all well and good having a lion’s share of possession, but if you are not doing anything with the ball in the opposition areas, or threatening to score a goal, that possession is no good. Jose Mourinho seems to have brought the winning mentality back to the club, bringing in a player like Ibrahimovic, who is a winner, a team player and a motivator, along with Mkhitaryan, who is a ball winner, a creator, and an assist machine with Bailly, a young and talented central defender, things are likely to change this season, Mourinho’s arrival has made United’s opposition sit up again, the signing of player like Ibrahimovic, albeit without UEFA Champions League football may bring back the hate, which in turn would start to bring back that fear factor at Old Trafford. Manchester United are rising again, and it will be players like Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan led by Mourinho that will do just that!