English Premiership

Mourinho explains Mkhitaryan left-back switch

2017-01-16 21:06
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Getty Images)

Manchester - Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho claims his decision to move Henrikh Mkhitaryan to left-back in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool was done in a bid to score the equaliser.

Jurgen Klopp's side looked to be heading for their first victory at Old Trafford since 2014 when James Milner's 27th minute penalty put them ahead, however a late equaliser by Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw the two teams share spoils.

The Portugese mentor made three second-half changes bringing on Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini for Michael Carrick, Anthony Martial and Matteo Darmian respectively.

When quizzed on his perplexing decision to play midfielder Mkhitaryan in defence - the former Chelsea mentor initially appeared annoyed, but said it was done as a last gamble of the dice as he had already substituted Darmian.

"Do you work for the Italian federation?," Mourinho said in post-match comments.

"Do you want to buy him? Are you an agent?."

"When you have Antonio Valencia playing as a right winger you cannot defend with two players, you need that third player to give some cover inside and to keep some balances, and he [Darmian] did that well.

"But then losing, you take Darmian out and play Mkhitaryan left winger, covering a little bit and Valencia right winger, covering a little bit, and you risk everything."

"But I was watching the game, we were losing, I was looking always to the same side - I have a problem with my neck because I was always looking to the left side - and I watched so many yellow guys in front of me I thought let's go for it, let's try," he concluded.

United on paper have an easier fixture list than their rivals as they only play a top 6 team next in April and next travel to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City on Saturday.

Kick off is at 17:00.

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Saturday, 20 January 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v West Bromwich Albion, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v Watford, King Power Stadium 17:00
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