Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss United’s next game against Crystal Palace, but expects the Armenian to be back for the fast approaching Christmas fixtures.
Mkhitaryan has been on fire since returning from exile at United, he has won 4 MOTM awards, scoring 2 goals and putting in some fantastic performances. But after being stretchered off against Spurs on Sunday afternoon it was an anxious wait for fans to hear how bad the injury was – luckily though, Mourinho has been quick to ease any injury worries.
Speaking on MUTV, the boss said: “Hopefully, Mkhitaryan can play at Christmas.”
“We believe it’s possible. When I saw him on the stretcher, I thought it was more difficult; when I watch the tackle on TV, I was a bit scared, but no. It’s a pity, because he’s going to miss matches in his best period, but at least we won’t lose a player for so long.”
Mourinho also gave big praise to central defenders Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. The pair were effectively written off as Manchester United players by the press and both probably expected to leave the club at some point under the Portuguese manager’s tender. However, it has been quite a different story. Both defenders have been rock solid at the heart of the United defence, keeping Eric Bailly out of the side and putting Chris Smalling’s future in doubt when he returns from injury.
“They’re playing well, they’re playing more than ever and better than ever, and now we have a third central defender to rotate. We gave a rest to Jones in Ukraine and now he played against Tottenham free of injury or tiredness; we now have a third central defender in Bailly. Until the end of the year, hopefully we can manage with those three in the two positions.”
However it wasn’t all good news for United’s defence ahead of the game at Palace as Antonio Valencia will be suspended from the game for picking up 5 yellow cards. Valencia has been a revelation under Mourinho this season and has been one of the most consistent players in the side without a doubt.
“It’s a loss as he is playing phenomenally and having a great season,” Mourinho told MUTV in an exclusive interview. “He likes to attack and was previously a winger so he’s happy with the way the team plays. But he’s suspended and that’s football, a feature of that, and we have to trust other players.”
All United fans will be hoping that Mkhitaryan returns quickly and will be looking forrward to welcoming back Valencia who has been one of United’s most consistent players so far.