Jose Mourinho has a peculiar ability to adversely effect number 10's. Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne... all of these players suffered significant dips under Mourinho and were bombed out of the club or publicly criticised. His insistence on defensive solidity and tracking back tends to shackle them and ultimately, it ends badly.
In recent times it was thought Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the latest victim to join the scrapheap of used and abused 10s. He has not started for Manchester United since their loss against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month. However, ESPN are reporting that in actual fact, Mkhitaryan is battling to save his Manchester United future after he had a public row with Mourinho at the club's training ground during a video session.
ESPN source reports Mourinho's grievance was a standard one, defensive work:
Mourinho was unhappy with Mkhitaryan's defensive work rate and a mistake made by the player.
Allegedly, Mkhitaryan challenged his boss on and they engaged in a back-and-forth which has led to his exclusion from the Manchester United team. In his press briefing yesterday, Mourinho suggested Mkhitaryan is on his way out of Old Trafford:
Jose Mourinho as good as confirmed yesterday Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be sold. Strange how such a good player can be such a bad fit.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) December 16, 2017
In Mourinho's last job a similar situation unfolded with Hazard, culminating in the Portuguese boss losing his job and Hazard being labelled one of the "rats" who Chelsea fans believed were responsible for Mourinho's sacking.
If one thing is becoming clear this week, it's that Jose Mourinho loves a row.
You can read the ESPN report here.