Football

Mourinho: Mkhitaryan living up to reputation

He has featured in only 10 games this season.

So when he was given a rare start by Jose Mourinho yesterday morning (Singapore time), Henrikh Mkhitaryan took it with aplomb.

The Armenia international was in the thick of things, supplying a backheeled assist for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's early opener and a well-judged cut- back set up Anthony Martial for his first goal as United beat West Ham 4-1 to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup.

"We know the reason we bought him and were waiting for his reputation. It looks like it's coming," Mourinho said after the match.

The United boss added that it hurt him to have to leave players out of his side.

Mourinho handed Martial a start along with Mkhitaryan and even brought out-of-favour midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger on as a late substitute.

Martial had missed out on the Premier League draw against West Ham last weekend and Mourinho said rotating his squad gave him no pleasure.

"It hurts me, it hurts me," he told the club's website.

"It hurts me a lot to leave (Memphis) Depay and Ashley Young at home.

"It hurts me a lot like last week when I had to leave out Martial and, next week, I'll leave another one.

"We have so many players for these positions and it's good for me, but it's bad for them ... I cannot give to everyone at the same time, so it hurts me." - REUTERS.

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