Jose Mourinho has accused Henrikh Mkhitaryan of “disappearing” this season and revealed the midfielder has been left out of Manchester United’s last two squads as punishment.
“I was not happy with his last performances.
“I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. He started the season very well and after that, step by step, he was disappearing.
“His performance levels in terms of goal scoring and assists, high pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a No.10, were decreasing step by step.
“That was enough because the others worked to have a chance. Everybody works to have a chance. It’s as simple as that.”
He said: “A team that plays the way we play so many times, I think we should score more goals than we do.
“The team that excites more is the team that after five chances is winning 4-0. That’s a team that excites more.”
Mkhitaryan’s return against Brighton — United’s first league game against The Seagulls since 1983 — means that another forward will have to miss out warned Mourinho.
He said: “He will be back in the group. For him to be back to the group, it means that somebody is going to leave the group.
“Maybe the next press conference after the match you are asking me why a was not on the pitch or why he was not even selected. That’s life. Rules are like this. Only 11 plus seven.
“When you have a chance and the performance is not what you expect, that’s normal. That’s life. You have to perform.”
Mourinho added: “I think we had an improvement with Martial. He’s scoring more goals than last season. That’s why he is playing more. He has more minutes on the pitch. When you compete a lot, training is difficult to judge because in the end you train in small groups.
“I cannot say that when you play so much, training is the best habitat to analyse the players.
“I would say on the pitch — pitch, match, and sometimes in a couple of minutes you see things.
“You don’t need sometimes to play 40, 50, 60 minutes for the coach to have feelings and have data to analyse.
“So I would say it’s on the pitch, especially on the pitch. Tell me on the pitch what you want to do the next match.”
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