Henrikh Mkhitaryan has attempted to explain he was always fighting an uphill battle to succeed under Jose Mourinho’s ‘philosophy’ at Manchester United. The 29-year-old midfielder signed for Arsenal in the January transfer window in a move which saw Alexis Sanchez head in the opposite direction to Old Trafford. Mkhitaryan scored 11 goals in his debut season at United but dropped down the pecking order earlier this term and joined Arsenal in search of more regular game-time. The Armenian registered a hat-trick assists on his first start for the Gunners against Everton but has struggled to replicate that form in recent matches.
Asked about his move to north London, Mkhitaryan told Sky Sports: ‘Everyone knows Arsenal play offensive football, and I love to play offensive football. ‘In Manchester we were playing offensive football too but not in every game, so it was quite different.’
While Mkhitaryan conceded that Wenger is more attack-minded than Mourinho, the midfielder understands that he must remain diligent to his defensive duties. ‘Every player has to defend, it doesn’t matter if you are a striker, winger, attacking midfield, you have to defend, you cannot just defend with four or five players, the whole team must defend,’ he added. ‘I’m doing my efforts to help the team to defend, sometimes it can work, sometimes it doesn’t.
‘But I always try to do my best for the team first of all, and then I’m thinking of myself. ‘I’m not an ego player to think of myself first. Then when I get the ball I can create.’