Henrikh Mkhitaryan has spilled the beans about a brutal confrontation he once had with Jose Mourinho just a matter of months after the Armenia playmaker had left Old Trafford.
Mkhitaryan joined United during Mourinho’s first season in charge at Old Trafford, but struggled to make a lasting impression at United with the Portuguese firebrand struggling to get the best out of the former Borussia Dortmund man.
Mkhitaryan made 63 appearances during 18 months with the Red Devils, scoring 13 times, before being sacrificed in an ill-fated swap deal for Alexis Sanchez with Arsenal in January 2018.
Mourinho spoke of his regret after Mkhitaryan’s departure, admitting perhaps it would be something he comes to regret, saying: “I believe Mkhi is going to be even better than he was with us. With one and a half years in England, adapted, knows, Arsenal play the way they think, I think is a good move for everybody, that’s why I’m also happy for Mkhi.
“Could he perform better with us, could I take more from his talent, maybe, could he give a little more also to adapt to us, maybe but I don’t think regrets, he’s in our history, so good feeling for everybody and a very specific transfer between rivals in a big country which I have to say must happen more times.”
However, Mkhitaryan also failed to live up to expectations at Arsenal, with the player on the move again 18 months later when he left the Gunners to join Roma in a season-long loan deal.
Mourinho himself went on to leave United when he was sacked by the club in December 2018 and Mkhitaryan claims the Portuguese somehow blamed the player for the bad press he received during the latter stages of his time as manager at Old Trafford.
“Once Mourinho saw me at breakfast and said to me: ‘Because of you, the press criticises me,’” he told Forza Roma.
“I replied: ‘Really ,mister? I’m not doing it on purpose’.
“Back in Manchester United there were paparazzi three days a week. They filmed you as you got in the car, how you were dressed.
“Once you arrived at the sports centre they were already there. Every step was controlled.”
Mkhitaryan has also admitted Mourinho is a difficult manager to play under and says pleasing him was always tough to achieve.
“Yes, I could say yes,” the Roma winger added.
“He’s a winner by nature. He wants you to win and you do what he asks you.
“It’s difficult for anyone. There have been differences and conflicts, but they have not had a strong impact on good work and the three trophies won.”
Mkhitaryan opens up on Arsenal move
The Armenian has since found better form with Roma, scoring six times in 17 appearances for the Serie A side and has suggested he is happy to make the move permanent at the end of the season.
Discussing his move to Arsenal, the club he joined in a swap deal for Sanchez, Mkhitaryan said: “I knew that Wenger and Arsenal were interested in me at the time of the conflicts with Mourinho.
“Wenger wanted me with the Gunners. Going to them was fulfilling the dream I had as a child.
“Many French players had worn that shirt in the past: Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Petit, Vieira.
“I was very passionate. Then, with the arrival of the United Arab Emirates, they started having economic problems and started investing in young people.
“Moving to Wenger’s Arsenal was a dream, a fairytale.”