MANCHESTER (Manutd.com) — Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been a key figure in Manchester United’s Europa League run with his skills coming to the fore against continental opposition.
The Armenian may have inherited some of his ability from his late father Hamlet, who also an international for his country, but feels it is only through effort and exertion that you are able to hone your talents. Certainly, the stint in Brazil with Sao Paulo in his early teens was an example of somebody determined to learn his craft.
After scoring in a fourth Europa League tie this season, during the 2-1 triumph over Anderlecht in the quarter-final, Mkhitaryan started at Celta Vigo and was denied another goal by home keeper Sergio Alvarez in the first half.
“It doesn’t matter how much ability and skills you are born with,” he told Inside United. “The most important thing is you have to use them and, to use them, you have to work very hard. So, if you work very hard, your talent is going to be an incredible strength for you. However, if you have the talent and ability and skills but don’t work very hard, you will not become anything.
“I’ve got many skills from him [his father] but I think he was quicker than me. He had a powerful shot and more of a natural instinct about how to score goals. I feel I am a little bit different to him as a player and what people say is that we are very different, so I cannot really compare myself to him.”
Mkhitaryan feels the training spell with Sao Paulo as a 13-year-old did benefit his game and add an element of flair to his play.
When asked if it developed his technical ability, he replied: “Yes, it did. I did not feel it immediately but I felt, during the year, that I improved my technical skills and I think it helped me a lot. I learned a lot by being in Brazil and by training there with technically strong players.”
The 27-year-old is continuing to learn and adapt as he handles the Premier League, adding he is a very different character on the field to the placid one off it.
“What have I learned?” he said. “I think the pace, the quickness and the strength because, being here, you have to adapt to the English Premier League and to the football. That is what I am doing now.
“I am really different on the football pitch. I try to be like a beast or a monster! I fight for every ball and try to do my best. Outside of the pitch, I am more quiet and more humble, and I don’t like to be very aggressive or anything like that.”