Henrikh Mkhitaryan reveals major difference between Arsene Wenger & Unai Emery

Arsenal Training Session
Henrikh Mkhitaryan spent just six months playing under Arsene Wenger (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Former Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan admits there were vast differences between Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery.

The Armenian joined the Gunners from Manchester United in a swap-deal involving Alexis Sanchez in 2018.

Mkhitaryan was unaware at the time but that was to be Arsene Wenger’s final season at the Emirates, with the Frenchman leaving the club after 22 years at the end of the 17/18 campaign.

The former Dortmund playmaker then spent a season under Unai Emery but despite a bright start, the pair did not see eye-to-eye and Mkhitaryan joined Roma on loan at the end of the season.

And Mkhitaryan admits the Spaniard had a ‘different philosophy’ to Wenger, which made it hard for him to adapt as he was given so much more ‘freedom’ under the legendary Frenchman.

Arsenal v Paris Saint Germain Pre Matchday Activity
Mkhitaryan spent a season with Emery before joining Roma on loan (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images for ICC)

‘With Wenger, it was freedom, the freedom to move, to play with the ball. He always wanted to play with the ball,’ Mkhitaryan told the Athletic.

‘He never wanted to defend because he was always saying if we score more goals than the opponent we’re going to win the game. It was a pleasing time. Unfortunately, after six months he was sacked.

‘Then there was Emery, so a different approach to football, a different philosophy. It was quite hard for me because I wasn’t playing a lot of the time. Most of the time I was sitting on the bench and I never like sitting on the bench because throughout my career I always wanted to play and win something. Emery saw football differently and was relying on other players.’

Mkhitaryan’s Roma take on Manchester United in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.

The Armenian scored in the final the last time United won a trophy in 2018, with Jose Mourinho’s side beating Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm.

United are looking to end the season on a high by lifting the Europa League but they must overcome an in-form Roma, before taking on the winners of Arsenal or an Unai Emery-managed Villarreal.

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