Henrikh Mkhitaryan insists he is a better player following his difficult first season at Manchester United.
After a poor showing in the Manchester derby, in which he was subbed at half-time, the Algeria star was marginalised by Mourinho.
But the midfielder returned from his enforced spell out with renewed intent, going on to score an extraordinary ‘scorpion kick’ against Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Reflecting on his first season in England, Mkhitaryan said his difficult start had served to improve him as a player and make him mentally stronger.
“Last year, with my difficulties, they helped me a lot,” he said. “I could stay stronger in my mind, like mentally. I never said that I had hard times here.
“It shows you are strong enough to win them over or not. I’ve done everything to work hard, to show everyone I can play, and that I can do my best for the team.”
Asked if he felt he was a better player for last season’s tough times, Mkhitaryan said: “For sure. Some people say, ‘You have been another player in Dortmund’, but I never regretted coming here.
“I’m very happy and, coming here, I became another player. In these kind of moments, if you’re giving up, you’re going to lose the meaning of your life.
“You have to stay positive, you have to stay strong and work very hard, because in one click everything can change and that’s what happened.
“It was a good year for us, for me as well, because we won three trophies. But I know, for this upcoming season, I can do better and better.
“I’m trying, I’m working hard on myself and I know that I will achieve more in general, like overall.
“I’m not saying just goals or assists. Also the playing style, the understanding between my team-mates, I mean everything.
“I’m expecting something good, because I know you can always do better and better, there’s no limit. I will try, I will try my best.” Despite winning the EFL Cup and Europa League last season, as well as the Community Shield, Mkhitaryan (below with Mourinho) knows United must step up a level this term.
“The manager in general is saying we need to do more,” said Mkhitaryan. “Everyone understands that because we know this season is going to be a little bit harder, because we’re going to play in the Champions League.
“We’re working very hard on it and we are sure we can have good results.
“This season we’re going to try to win some trophies. This is the main goal for Manchester United. I will try to do everything to help the team.”
Mkhitaryan also hailed the impact new £75m signing Romelu Lukaku can have on United, having already got off the mark on his new club’s pre-season tour.
“It’s a pleasure to play with him,” added 28-year-old Mkhitaryan. “He can hold the ball, he can play in the space, he’s fast, he’s quick. He has the smell to score goals.
“He knows where he has to be in the right moment, at the right time. I think with him, Manchester United can have a great season.”