Jose Mourinho has praised Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly following their Manchester United debuts in the 2-0 pre-season win over Championship new-boys Wigan.
The Armenian attacker, who arrived from Borussia Dortmund on a four-year contract earlier this month, played the opening 45 minutes of the victory, and was one of the bright sparks in a fairly laid back performance from the Red Devils.
He was not on the pitch when either goal was scored – Will Keane and Andreas Pereira netting in the second half – but his performance was well received by United fans, and his new manager at Old Trafford.
“Mkhitaryan is a top-class player and currently at the best stage for a footballer – 27/28 years old,” Mourinho told MUTV following the game.
“He is magnificent the way he thinks about football, he thinks very quickly and it’s so sweet how he touches the ball. He can play in different positions behind the striker. He doesn’t have the sharpness yet but his performance was very positive.”
He was rarely troubled during his time on the field of play, but Mourinho was suitably impressed by his showing, and believed the fans were also happy with what they saw from the 22-year-old Ivorian international.
The United boss continued: “With Eric, the way the fans showed how much they liked his performance when I changed him is enough.
“Of course he is a very young boy coming from a very different environment, but you could see what he is at this moment. I will give him everything to try to make him better and better like I did with other central defenders I’ve had in my hands. He has showed the potential we saw when we decided to buy him.”