Zlatan Ibrahimovič praises professionalism and quality of Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The Swedish striker saw his Manchester United teammate return to the starting XI on Thursday and hailed his professionalism in training since becoming out of favour with Jose Mourinho.

Zlatan Ibrahimovič praises professionalism and quality of Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Photo via Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovič praised the quality and professionalism of his Manchester United teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan after the Armenian was Man of the Match in his first start for the club since September. 

Mkhitaryan has suffered from niggling injuries as well as being out of favour with José Mourinho since September 10th, when he was hooked at half-time in the Manchester derby. 

The summer signing, who cost United £26million from German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, has been the centre of attention off the pitch at times, but certainly not on it. Mourinho has described Mkhitaryan as not being ready to play Premier League football, but may have changed his mind after an excellent performance against Feyenoord. 

Mkhitaryan shone in a 4-0 victory for United that means they need only a draw away at Zorya Luhansk to ensure qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stages. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovič's cross was deflected in by Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones for one of United's goal, and the Swede says he knew the qualities of Mkhitaryan from training. 

Zlatan: I knew how good Mkhitaryan was

Zlatan said that he knows "who Miki [Mkhitaryan] is, I see it every day in training," but United fans had been missing out. "Hopefully he showed everybody who he is and has the confidence to keep on doing that," the Swedish striker said. 

Zlatan described Mkhitaryan as "training very hard since," picking up injuries with his national side. 

"Very professional" Mkhitaryan has been training hard

Mkhitaryan has been "very professional" as stories about his relationship with Mourinho and future at United circulated after only months in Manchester. "You just have to wait for your chance," Zlatan believes, "and, when you get your chance, you need to take it."

Despite his support for Mkhitaryan, Zlatan reaffirmed that "it is up to the coach who plays."

Mkhitaryan is "a quality player, like every player in the team, but it is up to the coach who plays in the team."