ose Mourinho applauded Henrikh Mkhitaryan ’s mentality after a fine solo goal in Thursday’s 2-0 over Zorya highlighted the Armenian’s up-turn in fortunes at Manchester United.
Mkhitaryan endured a difficult few months initially following his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in July, with a poor showing in the September derby defeat to Manchester City resulting in his falling out of favour.
His next start in the Premier League did not come until the 1-1 draw with Everton on December 4, while he retained his place for Thursday’s Europa League trip to Zorya and broke the deadlock with a marvellous individual effort.
“He has a strong mentality,” said Mourinho. “He was very determined to fight against his difficult adaptation and he’s doing that in the best way.
“He worked really hard physically, tactically, and the talent we know is there – the talent we knew what we were buying.
“He fought to improve and now he is playing good in the Premier League, Europa League and the EFL Cup, and now evolving a bit more happiness for him, so I’m very pleased.”
A couple of flashpoints in the stands caught the attention of spectators as Zorya fans stole a United banner and then threw a flare on to the pitch near Sergio Romero, but Mourinho urged UEFA not to punish the Ukrainian club.
“The support was beautiful and they [Zorya fans] don’t need to do that [set off flares] to make it more beautiful,” he added. “For the goalkeeper [it was dangerous].
“The stadium was beautiful, the supporters, the Man United fans were good too. But maybe UEFA is not happy and is going to take some money from Zorya, which I think Zorya doesn’t deserve that.”