Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been tipped by Jose Mourinho to enjoy a much-improved second season at Manchester United, now that the player and manager fully understand one another.
The Armenia international signed for the Reds from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016 but experienced a slow start to his Old Trafford career, registering only five appearances in the opening three months of the season as Mourinho helped him adapt to English football.
However, once he got going in November, Micki truly flourished and finished the campaign as one of United’s outstanding performances with 11 goals from 41 appearances across all competitions, a tally which included his deft finish in the Europa League final victory over Ajax in May.
After a successful pre-season tour, Mkhitaryan has hit the ground running in 2017/18 and claimed four assists in the consecutive Premier League 4-0 wins over West Ham United and Swansea City.
Speaking at his weekly press conference at the Aon Training Complex on Friday, Mourinho provided his opinion on why the player has made such an impressive start to his second campaign in red.
“He understands me and, to be honest, I understand him,” Jose said. “In the beginning of last season, if he understood me better, then he would have started better. But, at the same time, if I understood him better, I would probably have helped him in a faster way than I did. We spent our time together, working together, learning [about] each other. I know him well, he knows me well, and the second part of the season was good for him. I believe, with his talent, that this season is going to be even better.”
The boss was then asked if there is a similar situation with Anthony Martial, our France international who has already scored twice and claimed an assist from two substitutes appearances – which suggests the 21-year-old prospect will improve on his 2016/17 record of eight strikes in 42 games.
“When you have some talent, you cannot waste it,” the manager said. “When you’re blessed with some talent, you have to fulfil that talent, you have to explore that talent, you cannot be happy just with glimpses of talent and that I’m not going to change.
“I want more and more and more from him because he has all the qualities for that. But he understands me better too and the personal relationship is good. I don’t think it’s fundamental in a player-manager relation, but it’s a good thing to have a good relationship. Anthony, I hope he is going to be better this season than last season.”