‘Magnificent’: Has Jose got a new favourite Manchester United player?

Jose Mourinho has been full of superlatives since his move to Manchester United and few would argue that he is relishing his new job.

But one player in particular has been the subject of his hyperbole over the last few days as The Portuguese has seen his squad at first hand and in action against Wigan at the weekend.

He was very complimentary about Eric Bailly, who settled into the side seamlessly and looks like a really good acquisition. Of Bailly, Jose said:

“With Eric, the way the fans showed how much they liked his performance when I changed him is enough.

“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.”

And he also spoke of his admiration for youngster Axel Tuanzebe who got into Louis van Gaal’s squad last season but didn’t kick on due to injury.

“You can play 90 minutes or one minute. Sometimes one minute is enough. With Axel, 10 minutes is enough. The potential is there, you see it immediately.

“You know him better than me because you know him for a few years but if anyone sees him for the first time, 10 minutes is enough to see the potential.”

And of the Manchester United fans, who turned out on force for the first pre-season friendly:

“They were unbelievable. For the first time in my career to see that support in a friendly…. it was like a crucial Premier League match. Unbelievable.”

But the new Manchester United boss reserved special praise for new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan who gave a really promising and purposeful performance in his first 45 minutes for the club. Of the 27-year-old, Mourinho is quoted as saying:

“Mkhitaryan is a top-class player and currently at the best stage for a footballer – 27/28 years old.

“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.

It’s too early to make meaningful predictions based on one run out for Manchester United against Wigan. But there is undoubted majesty about the way that the Armenian captain plays the game.

He’s almost the antithesis of the lolloping and sideways passing Manchester United of the Louis van Gaal era.

Mkhitaryan is fast, direct and moves forward at every possible opportunity. He can dribble at pace, pick out a beautiful pass and has the strength to be a big hit in The Premier League.

He looks to have the lot and is in the prime of his career. It should be a very interesting season for him at Manchester United.

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