Mkhitaryan accepts blame for slow start at United

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan says he was at fault for taking longer than expected to earn a first-team berth at Manchester United, not Jose Mourinho.

The Armenia international arrived at Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund with high expectations after being named the Bundesliga Players' Player of the Year for 2015-16.

He struggled to adapt, though, and was hauled off at half-time on his first start for the club, a 2-1 derby defeat to Manchester City, after which Mourinho said Mkhitaryan was guilty of turning in a "really poor individual performance".

Mourinho subsequently suggested that Mkhitaryan would struggle under the pressure of a crunch match with Arsenal, but the playmaker insists he did not fall out with his manager.

"There was no bad relation with him [Mourinho], it was always good but the problem wasn't him, it was me," he told Sky Sports News.

"Now I understand why I have got my chance and I will keep it, I will hold it, because it is very important for me to play, to be a part of Manchester United.

"I was thinking that I would be here as a starting line-up player but when I arrived I saw that there were 25 players fighting for their place and I understood that it wasn't going to be easy.

"I had a bad game against Manchester City but that is in the past so I kept working. I have done a great job to get my chance back and I think I did it a really long way until I start playing."

Mkhitaryan earned a standing ovation after assisting two goals in last month's 4-1 EFL Cup win over West Ham before turning in another fine performance from the start against Everton on Sunday.

And he hopes to maintain that form and earn a regular place in Mourinho's plans going forward.

He added: "I hope so because it is really very important to play in every game, doing your best, because if you are not going to do your best then you are not going to play in the next game.

"The manager has a lot of choice, he has five or six players in that position but I know that playing now I know what I have done bad in the past and what good I can do in the future. 

"So I know how I can help the team and I will be doing my best."