• The Armenia international has provided five assists in three games so far this term.
  • But his manager is keen to see him raise his game against those sides around them.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has demanded Henrikh Mkhitaryan makes a more telling contribution against the club's top six rivals this season, according to reports.

Mkhitaryan initially struggled to break into the United first-team following his £26m arrival from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016 but went onto play a key role in the club's Europa League title success.

The Armenia international scored six times in Europe, including in the final against Ajax, while also finding the back of the net four times in the Premier League but in United's pivotal games against sides they will recognise as title rivals this season, he struggled to replicate that sparkling form.

After missing games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, Mkhitaryan scored a winner against Tottenham Hotspur in November but failed to make a real impact in the reverse fixtures against those opponents later in the campaign.

United as a whole struggled against their immediate rivals last term; in their 10 meetings with the five clubs to finish above them, United registered just two wins and lost four, including back-to-back defeats to Arsenal and Spurs in May.

But according to ESPN, Mourinho has called upon the former Borussia Dortmund star to raise his games in pivotal top-of-the-table clashes this term, having been left disappointed with the attacker's contribution last season.

Mkhitaryan will have raised expectations himself after a sublime start to the 2017-18 season having provided the assist for five of United's 10 goals scored in the Premier League so far. He will have the opportunity to prove to Mourinho he can replicate that form against title rivals on 14 October when United travel to Liverpool, before hosting Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford two weeks later.

United are back in action against Stoke City on Saturday [9 September] at the Britannia Stadium where they will aim to make it four wins from their opening four league games of the season.

Henrikh Mhitaryan
Mkhitaryan has registered five assists in three league games for United this term. Getty