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Jose explains Henrikh Mkhitaryan omission amid transfer speculation

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been left out of the Manchester United squad for this evening’s Premier League tie at home to Stoke City.

Jose Mourinho has gone with Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial as our attacking midfield trio in a 4-2-3-1 formation that currently lead the Potters 2-0 at half-time.

The Armenian did not even make the bench for this evening’s game which includes three central midfielders – Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay.

Speaking to Sky Sports before the game, Jose Mourinho confirmed that the attacking midfielder has been left out of this evening’s matchday squad because he has been distracted by transfer rumours.

Mourinho said:

“I would lie if I said it was a pure tactical decision. It was just a choice of the players that we know, in this moment, they have 100 per cent their heads in Manchester United.

“No doubts about the future. I don’t think it’s easy for a player to play when there are doubts about his future. It’s added pressure that a player doesn’t need, so I think it’s the best for him and for us, while the doubt is in the air, to protect him.”

There is strong speculation that Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be used as part of a swap deal with Arsenal for forward Alexis Sanchez.

Arsene Wenger has expressed an interest in our player, with the Gunners believed to keen on receiving a player as part of any deal that involves selling Sanchez.  The Chilean superstar is in the final six months of his current deal at the Emirates and is widely expected to leave this month.

Mkhitaryan has started only 26 of a possible 61 Premier League games under Mourinho following his big money move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016.  He has really struggled to adapt to the Premier League with a number of very poor performances in a Manchester United shirt.

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