Good news, everybody. Henrikh Mkhitaryan hasn't dropped down the back of the sofa, he hasn't taken himself off to live in a caravan, and he hasn't been locked in an iron box with Bastian Schweinsteiger and dropped into the ship canal. He has, instead, been training nicely and will soon be ready.
That's according to Jose Mourinho, who should really know. Speaking at his pregame press conference today, Manchester United's manager clarified that Mkhitaryan was fully fit, training with the team, but "needed time to become the top player he knows he can be". Asked if some players take longer to adapt when moving clubs than others, he agreed, and pointed to two examples from his previous jobs:
I don't like to speak about players from other clubs because I don't want to be misinterpreted, but I don't think he'll mind. A player who had a problem to play when he first arrived was Willian. He went through a process and then, after a few months, he became a top player ... Similarly, [Angel] Di Maria had to learn a lot about his game when he came into Madrid from Portugal. Sometimes this is what happens. It happens with defenders, but it is often easier for them to adapt than attackers. Some go straight to success and others it takes more time.
And he concluded by stressing that Mkhitaryan has the backing of the club:
In Micky's case the process was interrupted by injury, which does not help the process of evolution. Being out for a month meant he has had to go through the process of getting match fit, then once he has that he needs the competitive level to do it. We believe him and, sooner or later, there will be no problem.
Hooray for all that. Let's hope he gets on against Burnley.