Manchester United cruised through to the last 8 of the Europa League on Thursday night with a 1-0 away win against St. Etienne ensuring they won 4-0 on aggregate. However it wasn’t all good news for United.
The gap in quality between the two sides was obvious and Henrikh Mkhitaryan was one player whose performance helped highlight the quality difference between the two sides. His goal was the only goal of the game and he scored it early to settle any nerves United may have had.
However the night ended early for Henrikh and on a sour note with Mkhitaryan going off injured in the 24th minute, the extent to his injury has not been revealed yet, but given his recent form the fans will be hoping it is nothing serious.
He only managed to make 11 touches during his time on the pitch and made 1 shot, which crucially hit the back of the net.
Aside from the goal, he didn’t look great before going off injured and that has led many to question whether he may have been carrying an injury before the game started. So is Mourinho to blame for his injury? Why did Jose potentially risk his fitness when the team had all but certainly advanced to the next round already thanks to their 3-0 first leg win. With the EFL Cup final coming up at the weekend, it makes the decision even more bemusing. Mourinho has also said that Carrick has no chance of playing in the EFL Cup final – so why did he feature vs. Saint-Etienne? It is obvious how important Carrick is to making United tick – so it is ridiculous to risk him just days before a final.
Here’s how some fans reacted to the midfielder’s performance and his injury.
— Rachel Middleton (@NewswithRachel) February 24, 2017
We'll miss Mkhitaryan in the finals.
In fact, we'll lose now. Mkhitaryan is our best player by far.
— John Raphael (@RaphaelJohn13) February 22, 2017
Mkhitaryan should never have started this game. What's the point starting your best player when you 3-0 up
— Osaide Andy (@andrew2180) February 22, 2017
Mkhitaryan for £27mil was a bargain in today's market?
— Matty (@Mattyxix) February 23, 2017
Not happy that Mkhitaryan is injured for League Cup final – possibly our best player? If not, only behind Zlatan. Tremendous footballer.
— Andrew Stewart (@realAndyStewart) February 23, 2017
United have been drawn Rostov in the last 16 and Mourinho will surely be confident of advancing to the last 8 of the competition considering that draw.
Despite their terrible start to the Premier League under Mourinho, the team have a serious chance of winning 3 trophies this season under Mourinho – the EFL Cup, Europa League and the FA Cup. If Mourinho manages to land two of those trophies and finish in the top four then it would surely be a successful debut season for him at United.
With both Carrick and Mkhitaryan out of the final at the weekend, Manchester United’s chances of winning have surely fallen significantly. Should United’s midfield put in a lacklustre display in the final then there is only one man to blame…