MANCHESTER, UK (Independent) — Henrikh Mkhitaryan is confident he can play a leading role at Manchester United after delivering an encouraging display in the 2-0 pre-season friendly victory against Wigan Athletic.
The Armenian joined the 20-time champions of England from Borussia Dortmund for £26m this summer as Jose Mourinho continues 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 £30m defender Eric Bailly and a return from injury for Luke Shaw.
Mkhitaryan said: “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.
“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 manager was delighted with his display, too, lauding him as a “top-class player” whom he considers invaluable to his Old Trafford project being a success.
Mourinho told MUTV: “Mkhitaryan is a top-class player and currently at the best stage for a footballer – 27/28 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.
“He can play in different positions behind the striker. He doesn’t have the sharpness yet but his performance was very positive.”