After a fairly average first campaign with the Red Devils, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is preparing for his second season with Manchester United in the United States, along with his fellow teammates.
Over the course of last season, the Armenian only played 24 Premier League games, finding the net just four times. With such a low return to his name, he didn’t look anything like the player he was in his final year with Borussia Dortmund.
Mkhitaryan’s last season in Germany was one naturally caught United’s attention as he found the back of the net 23 times and, perhaps even more impressively, he contributed with 26 assists.
His Premier League performances were not quite up to scratch last campaign, but he did score vital goals against Rostov and Anderlecht in the Europa League, while he also hit the back of the net in the final against Ajax as Jose Mourinho’s side went on to lift the trophy.
Going into his second campaign with United, former France international Youri Djorkaeff predicts he will improve. The Frenchman told Sky Sports: “With the confidence of how he finished the season and after a year of learning the league and the club, I’m sure he will be at the top.”
He added: “You need someone who can change a game in a second, That’s Henrikh. His impact is not just scoring goals, it’s trying to find openings and attack efficiently. I’m sure it will be a big season for him. He can be sure, too, that Mkhitaryan will back himself to make it happen – just like he always has.”
With words of praise coming from a former World Cup winner and friend, Mkhitaryan will gain confidence, yet the Armenian has a long way to improve.
He was the Reds’ eighth most creative player last season, setting up just 28 chances and fashioning one assist. The Armenian fell behind bit-part player Wayne Rooney, who managed to claim five assists, having come on as a substitute in 40% of his appearances.
As a winger, the Armenian needs to beat his man more often, also. He completed just 30 take-ons last season, a figure that is dwarfed by teammate Anthony Martial, who operated on the left. The Frenchman went past his man on 45 occasions last term.
Yet, Mkhitaryan shouldn’t worry, as Sky Sports highlight in their report, he takes a while to show his full potential. When he joined Dortmund, it took him a few years to produce consistently. So, if United persist with the former Dortmund man, they could reap the rewards next season.
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