Henrikh Mkhitaryan insists he can thrive during his season on loan with Roma after giving his take on why he struggled to score goals for both Manchester United and Arsenal.
The Armenian playmaker was moved out to the Giallorossi on a season’s loan on transfer deadline day earlier this month; Mkhitaryan hinting he had little choice but to make the move to the Italian capital.
Mkhitaryan had already hinted he’s very much looking forward to testing himself in Serie A and the player used his first press conference as a Roma player to explain what his role in the side will be and why he struggled to regularly hit the net in the Premier League.
“I am happy to be here,” Mkhitaryan said.
“It has been a hard time [for me] before coming here and now I start a new adventure. I know where I am coming, I know what the team is playing for, what the goals are for this club and of course I will do my best to help achieve those goals.
“I met my teammates for the first time today, there is a very good group in the dressing room. I met the Coach for the first time too, and I can say that the team has a very bright future.
“I can play in every offensive position, it does not matter – from the right, the left, or behind the striker. I feel more useful when I am helping the team.
“I don’t think there is a big difference playing from the right or the left, because in the end you are coming inside.
“I think that is my quality, to cut in from the flank towards the middle – so I think I can be useful to the squad with my qualities.
“It was the first day [today], and yes I met the players I played against with national team. We discussed a bit the game against Italy with Alessandro [Florenzi], and we also discussed about Roma and Italy.
“The same with Edin [Dzeko], we talked about the game and today at training we had the opportunity to discuss more about the game, the episodes and the goals and everything else.
“But now I think the national team is behind us and we have to be focused on the games Roma have.”
Going into more details on the role he was asked to play at Manchester United and Arsenal, Mkhitaryan had a solid reason as to why the goals didn’t flow for him in the Premier League.
“With the national team I play behind the striker, so I have more freedom to move wherever I want, to drop back, to take the ball – but at the end I have to be in the box to try and help finish chances.
“But at Arsenal and Manchester United my role was different, I was more responsible for helping to build the play and perhaps that is why I scored fewer goals. But I am trying to do my best to score and assist because that is what I get pleasure from.”
Mkhitaryan admits he was a Premier League misfit
Mkhitaryan scored just 22 goals in English football and he added: “I left England – I don’t want to talk about England anymore because I want to be focused on Roma and Italian football.
“I don’t think it is a step back because it is a big club, a great club and everyone knows about it.
“I think maybe I was not fitting so well in English football, so I think a change was good. I’ve heard from many, many players that the Italian League is great, the football is great.
“The last month at Arsenal I was not getting pleasure, so that’s why I said it was better to come to Roma and to get happy and to get the pleasure from playing football again.
“It is a hard question. It’s difficult for me to say – I am not in the Arsenal board, I cannot say. I think it was because it was my wish [to leave] a lot.
“I knew I was not going to play a lot – maybe I would sit on the bench, like I did the last three games before the international break.
“I knew here I would have more opportunity to play, because there is the League, the cup, the Europa League.
“The decision was not easy for Arsenal to let me go, but thanks to Roma’s sporting director and board they were able to do it and hopefully I can show why they wanted to do that.”
Get the latest personalised Arsenal products on our new TEAMtalk Gunners shop!