Mkhi details Emery struggles
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a player that captured the attention of many football lovers during his time with Borussia Dortmund.
However, when he moved to Manchester United the Armenian international struggled to regain the composure and goal contribution output which had seen him blitz the Bundesliga.
A move to Arsenal saw a brief honeymoon period but when Arsene Wenger left and Unai Emery came in, Mkhitaryan’s Gunners career was destined to fizzle out. He explained why.
“With Wenger, it was freedom, the freedom to move, to play with the ball. He always wanted to play with the ball. He never wanted to defend because he was always saying if we score more goals than the opponent we’re going to win the game. It was a pleasing time. Unfortunately, after six months he was sacked,” he said.
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on December 02, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Then the Armenian spoke about his time under the Frenchman’s successor Unai Emery.
Known for being more industrious and tactical in his approach, unsurprisingly, the culture shock was not a good one for Mkhitaryan.
“Then there was Emery,” Mkhitaryan explained. “So a different approach to football, a different philosophy. It was quite hard for me because I wasn’t playing a lot of the time.
“Most of the time I was sitting on the bench and I never like sitting on the bench because throughout my career I always wanted to play and win something. Emery saw football differently and was relying on other players.”
He now faces former club Manchester United and should his new side Roma overcome the tournament favourites he would setup a final with either Arsenal or former coach Emery. Talk about narrative.
Solskjaer clarifies Roma comments
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer risked the wrath of Roma fans when he said that he had not considered watching them once this season ahead of the semi-final in the Europa League against the Italian side.
“I don’t know them and I haven’t seen them play,” Solskjaer said when asked about the Rome-based club.
Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 12, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
He has since spoken ahead of Thursday’s game to clarify his comments.
“That was straight after the game and with all the games we’ve had I was just relieved we’d gone through. I’d watched them but hadn’t analysed and hadn’t seen them in depth to give them enough respect, probably. It’s a fantastic club with a great history,” Solskjaer explained.
“I’ve actually got two prized possessions back home [from when he played]: a Totti shirt and a De Rossi shirt that I’ve swapped with them and they’re actually signed, so I know about the history, I know about the quality.”
United host Roma before heading to the Italian capital to try and reach another Europa League final.
Roma have struggled this season and sit way off the Champions League chasing pack in 7th on 55 points. Whereas Manchester United have been the closest competitor to their city rivals but still 10 points off the top.