Former Bayern Munich and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has questioned Jose Mourinho’s attitude towards Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Manchester United.
The Armenia captain notched 23 goals and 32 assists in a superb final season with Borussia Dortmund, but has struggled to adapt to life at Old Trafford since his £26.3million move in July.
Mkhitaryan was hauled off at half-time in the derby defeat to Manchester City last month and, despite having recovered from a thigh injury, has been left out of United’s last three matchday squads.
Mourinho stated on Friday he has complete faith in the 27-year-old, but warned the player’s adaptation to England will take more time, suggesting the attacking midfielder will not be involved in Saturday’s Premier League game at home to Burnley.
Hamann has been puzzled by Mkhitaryan’s treatment and suggested Mourinho needs to adopt a certain approach to get the best out of the former Shakhtar Donetsk star.
“It’s strange,” he told Omnisport. “I’ve seen him for Dortmund in the Bundesliga in the last couple of seasons, he had a fantastic season last year, so for Mourinho to go off him after the derby was strange for me.
“He’s somebody who needs an arm around the shoulder. He doesn’t seem to get it from the manager so it’ll be interesting to see how that develops.
“If you look at them going forward, there are a few problems in the team, scoring goals and creating chances. I think Mkhitaryan could be the player who makes a difference there.”
Hamann was speaking at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is enrolled on a two-year Master of Sport Directorship course.
The 43-year-old claimed the multi-layered role of a sporting director in modern football – which includes attempting to build squads around the demands of managers such as Mourinho – is a source of genuine interest.
“I did my coaching qualifications and had a go at coaching and managing but I don’t think it’s what I want to do long term,” he said. “So I think a role in a capacity where you decide on things, sponsorship, planning squads is something that always appealed to me more.
“Maybe it’s a sign that slowly the philosophy in England is changing toward sporting directors. The thought process is slowly changing. I wouldn’t read too much into me doing it in England but it may imply that there’s a change around the corner regarding that position.
“There’s some very interesting people on the course and there’s a lot of things I’ve taken home. It’ll be a fantastic journey.”
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