Jose Mourinho warned Henrikh Mkhitaryan he needs to up his game if he wants a future at Manchester United.
Mourinho axed the Armenian from his last two squads for “disappearing” in games but he will recall him for today’s visit of Brighton to Old Trafford but it comes with a caution.
Mourinho said: “I was not happy with his last performances. I’m not speaking one or two, I’m speaking three, four or five. He started the season very well and after that step by step he was disappearing.
“His performance levels in terms of goal scoring, assists, high pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a No 10, were decreasing step by step. That was enough because the others worked to have a chance.
“Everybody works to have a chance. It’s as simple as that. So last couple of matches Mkhitaryan was out and other players had the opportunity.”
Mkhitaryan’s United career has been hit and miss since his £30million move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of last year.
He was also dropped the first six games of last season for two months as he was struggling to cope with the demands of the Premier League.
He finished the season well with 11 goals including the second in a 2-0 Europa League final win over Ajax, but Mourinho clearly believes he has gone into reverse again.