Henrikh Mkhitaryan is battling to save his Manchester United career after being dropped by Jose Mourinho following a row between the two men during a video analysis session at the club's Carrington training ground last month, sources have told ESPN FC.
Mkhitaryan, 28, has been absent from seven of United's last eight matchday squads and sources at Old Trafford have confirmed that the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder angered Mourinho by disagreeing with the manager's assessment of his contribution during a substitute appearance against Brighton on Nov. 25.
Mourinho was unhappy with Mkhitaryan's defensive work rate and a mistake made by the player, singling the Armenian international out for criticism in front of the rest of the first-team squad.
Mkhitaryan responded to his manager's remarks, with the player continuing to debate Mourinho's assessment of his performance in the corridor outside the analysis suite at Carrington.
Sources told ESPN FC in September that Mourinho was unhappy with Mkhitaryan's contribution against United's top-six rivals, but the player appeared to have overcome his manager's reservations by making an impressive start to the season with two goals and five assists in all competitions.
However, Mourinho was unimpressed by Mkhitaryan's performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of November and has not selected him to start since.
When asked on Wednesday why Mkhitaryan had not been in his plans recently, Mourinho said: "I can only have six [outfield] players on the bench and I try to have some balance on the bench -- I had two defenders and [Daley] Blind who can play in different areas. I had Ashley Young to cover me all of the wing and the wing-back position.
"I had [Ander] Herrera as a midfield player, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] as a striker and Marcus [Rashford] as a second striker and winger. I played [Anthony] Martial, [Juan] Mata and [Jesse] Lingard in the team. To have Micki means that I don't have one of them and, in this moment, I believe the other ones they deserve [the chance to play]."
Inter Milan are keen to sign Mkhitaryan, who signed for United in July 2016, and could offer Portugal midfielder Joao Mario in an effort to negotiate a deal when the transfer window opens next month.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_
Latest Nigeria News
- Paul Pogba praised by Didier Deschamps for dealing with media pressure at World Cup
- Monaco’s Diakhaby signs three-year contract with Huddersfield
- Liverpool's ¬62.5m offer for Alisson 'irrefusable' for Roma - Francesco Totti
- Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger not in running to become next Japan manager
- Liverpool's Naby Keita always wanted to be Steven Gerrard as a kid
- LIVE Transfer Talk: Barcelona coming in with £55m-plus bid for Chelsea's Willian
- Gor Mahia shed goal-shy image with four in CAF romp
- Ethiopia Appoints Abraham Mebratu as Head Coach
- Brighton sign South Africa star Tau
- Mwase: Malawi needs nothing but victory
- Elite Beach Soccer referees gear up for Sharm El Sheikh
- Mahrez shows glimpse of City prowess
- Transfer Talk: Barcelona coming in with £55m-plus bid for Chelsea's Willian
- Liverpool's Naby Keita emulated 'boss' Steven Gerrard as a kid
- Asaba 2018: AFN invites 61 athletes to camp
- Lawal warns F’Eagles over Mauritania
- Stakeholders raise the alarm over league suspension
- Thai cave boys relive ‘moment of miracle’
- Stars, flops of Russia 2018 World Cup
- Brazil and PSG defender Dani Alves slams Neymar memes: It's not a joke
- Chelsea need 'best player' Eden Hazard to stay - Cesc Fabregas
- David De Gea will stay at Manchester United because of fans - Ander Herrera
- Transfer Talk: Real Madrid ready £112 million bid for Eden Hazard, also targeting Mauro Icardi
- VIDEO: Goalkeeper Alisson’s wife celebrates husband’s $84m move to Liverpool
- Madrid's return to Galactico spending
- Leicester City seal signing of Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward
- I will help Liverpool win title, says Fabinho
- Croatia’s Caleta-Car signs five-year contract with Marseille
- German federation bosses are ‘amateurs’ — Bayern’s Rummenigge
- Liverpool's Mohamed Salah sent Alisson text messages urging him to join club
- Neymar: I am staying at Paris Saint-Germain and want to win with them
- Kylian Mbappe ahead of where Thierry Henry was at same age - Didier Deschamps
- Barcelona told Ajax's Frenkie de Jong will not leave this summer
- Tottenham's Son Heung-Min signs new five-year contract until 2023
- Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez 'has to play' vs. San Jose Earthquakes - Jose Mourinho
- Conte to sue Chelsea over delayed sacking
- Chelsea prepare for life under new manager Sarri in Australia
- Sports court annuls AC Milan Europa League ban
- Nigeria host Mauritania as qualifiers reach final lap
- Zambia bank on positive away run