Monday, May 29, 2017

Blind eager for return of ´very smart´ Mkhitaryan

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 8 Mar 2017

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan could make his return from injury in Manchester United’s Europa League trip to Rostov on Thursday and Daley Blind is delighted to have the “very smart” Armenian back in contention.

United were without the services of the attacking midfielder for the 3-2 EFL Cup final triumph over Southampton and their disappointing 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Bournemouth on Saturday after he picked up a hamstring problem against Saint-Etienne.

Mkhitaryan may not be risked in Russia, with manager Jose Mourinho unimpressed by the state of Rostov’s pitch, but he has travelled and looks likely to be involved in Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea.

Regardless of whether the former Borussia Dortmund star does feature on Thursday, Blind is happy to have him back.

“Micki [Mkhitaryan]’s a very smart player,” he said. “You can always reach him – he always makes good runs. It’s a pleasure to play with him.

“I’m very happy Micki is back; he’s a great player with a lot of qualities, so of course we’re happy that he’s back on the pitch again with us.” 

United’s hosts are the possessors of a fine record at home, having lost just one of their last 31 competitive matches at Olimp-2, though Blind is eager to put a dent in that run.

“We’re here to win,” added the Dutchman. “We want to get a good result, but we know in our minds it’s over two games, so we have to be smart and adapt in the game if that’s needed.

“We know there is always a second leg at home at Old Trafford – we are aware of that but the first thing is we want to win here and score a goal. That’s how we look at it.”

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