Manchester United’s new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is confident he can play a leading role at the English football club after delivering an encouraging display in the 2-0 pre-season friendly victory against Wigan Athletic.
The Armenian attacking midfielder joined the 20-time EPL champions from Borussia Dortmund for around $33 million this summer as chief coach Jose Mourinho continued to renovate the squad he inherited from Louis van Gaal.
Mourinho gave Mkhitaryan 45 minutes in the first half at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon to prove himself ahead of the trip to China for the International Champions Cup next week.
Will Keane and Andreas Pereira scored the first goals of the Mourinho era as United strolled to victory against Wigan in a match which also featured a debut for 30 million pound ($43.7 million) defender Eric Bailly and a return from injury for Luke Shaw.
“I would say it was a good game. The first half was a little bit difficult because we couldn’t score a goal. But we made a good game and thank you to my team-mates. I was trying to feel comfortable. I think day by day it will be better. I am trying, because the first days are always very difficult,” Mkhitaryan was quoted as saying by The Independent on Sunday.
“You have to get to know your team-mates and their qualities, so I am trying to learn everything very quickly. Game by game it will be better and better. Of course we’re getting ready for the new season so we are trying to do everything the coach is asking.”
The former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder’s coach was delighted with his display, too, lauding him as a “top-class player” whom he considers invaluable to his project being a success.
“Mkhitaryan is a top-class player and currently at the best stage for a footballer — 27 years old. He is magnificent the way he thinks about football, he thinks very quickly and it’s so sweet how he touches the ball,” Mourinho told the club’s official website.
“He can play in different positions behind the striker. He doesn’t have the sharpness yet but his performance was very positive,” the former Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Real Madrid coach added.