Henrikh Mkhitaryan has praised playing under Arsene Wenger even though he only got to do it for six months before the Frenchman left the club and has highlighted major differences between him and Unai Emery.

Arsenal's Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan (L) and Arsenal's Spanish defender Nacho Monreal (R) react to another missed chance during the pre-season friendly football match for the Emirates Cup between Arsenal and Lyon at The Emirates Stadium in north London on July 28, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan (L) and Arsenal’s Spanish defender Nacho Monreal (R) react to another missed chance during the pre-season friendly football match for the Emirates Cup between Arsenal and Lyon at The Emirates Stadium in north London on July 28, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan had the footballing life sucked right out of him in England. 

First, he had to deal with Jose Mourinho treating him like crap.

Then, when he finally escaped his Manchester United nightmare, he was only at Arsenal five minutes when they got rid of Wenger and brought in Unai Emery who changed the Armenian’s role to such an extent he curtailed his talent.

Speaking to Four Four Two, Mkhitaryan explained what it was like under Wenger.

“Playing under him was a pleasure,” the 30-year-old said. “To every player he said, “Just play football and enjoy it – if you’re doing something and you enjoy it, it means you’re doing it right.” I had a great six months with him at Arsenal.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Arsenal FC at Vicarage Road on April 15, 2019 in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
WATFORD, ENGLAND – APRIL 15: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Arsenal FC at Vicarage Road on April 15, 2019 in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“When he stepped down, it was a shock for everyone at the club, and I was the guy who came to Arsenal because Wenger wanted me. But that’s football. You must be ready for anything.”

Under Emery, it wasn’t quite the same story. “He paid more attention to tactics,” Mkhitaryan added, “so my role changed.

“I was starting as a winger, but had to build play with the No.6, the defensive midfielder. It’s why I couldn’t contribute as many goals or assists.

“I like to play more freely and move wherever there’s space, but you have to do the job the manager asks – the team winning is more important than your individual preferences.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“It was a good experience to work with him, though, because he’s the first Spanish manager in my career and Spanish football is quite technical.”

Mkhitaryan has struggled with injury problems since joining Roma on loan for the season restricting him to just six Serie A appearances (399 minutes).

In that time, however, he’s still managed two goals and an assist, including one on his recent return from injury.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.