Manchester United news: Henrikh Mkhitaryan sends message to Jose Mourinho by starting in Armenia win

The 27-year-old played from the off for the first time since September as his national side secured a late victory over Montenegro

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The Independent Football

Henrikh Mkhitaryan started a match for the first time since September in Armenia’s dramatic late World Cup qualifying victory over Montenegro on Friday.

The Manchester United attacking midfielder had not played from the off since aggravating a thigh injury during a 2-1 defeat to neighbours Manchester City.

Mkhitaryan has since returned to full fitness but remains sidelined at Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho claiming that his £26.3m summer signing needs time to adapt to the Premier League.

The 27-year-old returned to action with his country and captained Artur Petrosyan’s side as they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

Gevorg Ghazaryan’s injury-time strike sealed three points for Armenia, who had seen Mkhitaryan go close with a late attempt moments earlier.

After the win, Mkhitaryan, who played the full 90 minutes in Yerevan, conveyed his delight with the victory to supporters on Twitter, posting: “So happy & proud of our victory today!

“We were down, but never out! Amazing spirit & three important points!”

The win was Armenia’s first in 12 competitive matches, a run stretching back to October 2013.

Damir Kojasevic and Steven Jovetic’s strikes had looked likely to consign Mkhitaryan’s side to yet another defeat, until Artak Grigoryan and Varazdat Haroyan put the hosts back on terms.

Mkhitaryan has played just 107 minutes of league football at United this season, but recently featured in the 2-1 Europa League defeat at Fenerbahce.

Mourinho has claimed that Mkhitaryan “needs time to become the top player he knows he can be”.

The former Borussia Dortmund playmaker was not included in the matchday squad for last week’s 3-1 win at Swansea City, United’s final fixture before the current international break.

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