Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the all-important goal in the Europa League final for Manchester United last month, putting us 2-0 up against Ajax just after half-time.

Ahead of the corner that lead to the goal, Mkhitaryan was walking away from the box, with his pace and lack of height meaning he had been instructed to keep an eye on a counter-attack, rather than posing a threat in the penalty area.

However, Ander Herrera went over to Mkhitaryan and instructed him to go in to the penalty area, with Herrera occupying the space the Armenian previously had. Seconds later, Mkhitaryan scored.


Jose Mourinho has since given a lecture at the University of Lisbon and called Herrera “one of the smartest players”.

One of the students present, Petter Skogsletten, revealed what Mourinho said about the Spaniard.

Mourinho talked a lot about Herrera, saying he is one of the smartest players he has had during his career.

Herrera took hold of Mkhitaryan and sent him in front of the keeper, while Herrera would take the pitch outside the box. Mourinho said he was so frustrated that he said ‘What the hell is going on?’

It turned out Herrera had taken responsibility in the situation – Mkhitaryan had a yellow card. If Ajax suddenly counterattacked and Mkhitaryan had fouled the player, he would have been sent off.

Mourinho said he is incredibly pleased to have such players who can handle situations on their own and adjust.