Paul Merson blames Jose Mourinho for Man United star’s struggles

The Arsenal legend accuses Jose Mourinho of hampering Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first season at Manchester United

Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan Photo: The Sport Review

Paul Merson believes Henrikh Mkhitaryan has struggled in his first season at Manchester United due to Jose Mourinho’s criticism of the midfielder.

The Red Devils signed the Armenia international in a £30m deal from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund in the summer transfer window.

Mkhitaryan finished the 2015-16 season as the Bundesliga’s player of the year after the playmaker scored 11 goals and made 15 assists in 31 games.

The Manchester United summer signing has only scored four times and has made just one assist in 15 starts and nine subtitute appearances in the Premier League this term.

Mkhitaryan struggled to get much game time at the start of the season before forcing his way into first-team contention around the festive period.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson claimed that Mourinho has held Mkhitaryan back in his first campaign at Old Trafford.

“I think he needs to give Henrikh Mkhitaryan a free role, he’s one of the best players in the Premier League,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“When this lad gets going, I can’t believe how good he is. But, I don’t think Mourinho has given him the confidence and belief to go out and do what he should be doing.”

The 28-year-old has played a key role in helping Manchester United to reach the Europa League final thanks five goals in 10 appearances in the competition.

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