Mourinho calls for United new boy to work harder

Date published: Friday 21st October 2016 7:22

Jose Mourinho: No place for Mkhitaryan

Jose Mourinho: No place for Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan still has work to do to force his way back into the Manchester United team.

The Armenian winger watched from the directors’ box as United eased to a 4-1 win over Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday.

Mkhitaryan, a big-money summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, has not played since injuring his thigh more than a month ago.

Manager Jose Mourinho said ahead of the game that he was fit but, with competition for places intense in the forward positions, Mkhitaryan may have to wait for his chance.

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial both scored against Fenerbahce while Juan Mata also impressed and all three will hope to keep their places for Sunday’s key Premier League clash with Chelsea.

Mourinho said: “The situation is that we played with Lingard, with Mata and Martial. I am not an Einstein. I don’t know a tactical system that can play with four wingers at the same time.

“He has to work more to get the intensity and fitness to play at a high level. To have him on the bench and give him 15 or 20 minutes like I did to Memphis (Depay), I think it is much better for him to work and wait for his chance, but he is ready very soon.”

Mourinho made seven changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Liverpool on Monday, bringing in the likes of Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Martial.

Two penalties in three minutes just after the half-hour mark from Paul Pogba and Martial put United in control and Pogba added a brilliant third in injury time.

Paul Pogba

Lingard’s fine finish three minutes after the break put the game to bed but former United striker Robin van Persie had the last word with a consolation, for which he received a standing ovation from all four sides of the ground.

United lost their opening Europa League match to Feyenoord but back-to-back wins have put them level on points with the Dutch team at the top of Group A.

They must now turn their attention back to the Premier League and Mourinho’s first visit to his old club at Stamford Bridge.

The United boss insisted he did not select his team with that match in mind, saying: “I choose this team because I felt it was the team to win it and because I felt after such an intense game on Monday that some of these players would be in better conditions to perform than others, but I start thinking about Chelsea tomorrow.

“Am I happy with the performance? Yes. Am I happy with individual performances? Yes. And I am happy with the result, which is the most important because the result is difficult.

“We put ourselves in a difficult position by losing the first match, especially as we have the double match with Fenerbahce. To go to Istanbul without winning this match would be even more difficult.”

Mourinho is waiting on the fitness of defender Chris Smalling, who was forced off at half-time with a muscle problem.

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