'Mkhitaryan absence has cost Man Utd six or seven points'

Jamie Redknapp believes that the Red Devils would be occupying a top-four position in the Premier League had they used their Armenian summer signing more frequently

Manchester United's reluctance to offer Henrikh Mkhitaryan regular football during the early part of the season has cost them "six or seven points", according to former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp.

Mkhitaryan is now irreplaceable

The Red Devils spent big on the Armenian forward over the summer, with a reported £26.3 million fee taking him to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund.

Mkhitaryan arrived in England on the back of a standout season in the Bundesliga which saw him collect numerous personal awards. He was, however, eased into Premier League life by Jose Mourinho, with it mid-September before he was handed a first start.

That outing, in a derby against Manchester City, lasted just 45 minutes, with the 27-year-old becoming something of a forgotten man on the back of an early withdrawal.

His absence bemused many supporters and interested onlookers, only recently coming back into favour.

Mkhitaryan has impressed since being brought back in from the cold and, after he netted the winner in Sunday's crucial victory over Tottenham, Redknapp believes that United would be sitting inside the Champions League places had they shown greater faith in his ability.

"I don't buy the argument that Henrikh Mkhitaryan needed time to adjust to the Premier League," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

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"If he had started sooner, I'm convinced Manchester United would have six or seven more points. 

"He is like Philippe Coutinho or Mesut Ozil in his ability to unlock the door and see passes that others don't. 

"He shone in the fast and furious pace of the Bundesliga so why wasn't he even on the bench for so long?"

Unfortunately for Mkhitaryan, he is now set for another spell on the sidelines. The former Dortmund man went over on his ankle late on against Spurs and had to be stretchered from the field.

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Jose Mourinho revealed afterwards that the Armenian had escaped serious injury but expects him to sit out United’s next two fixtures against Crystal Palace and West Brom.

He told MUTV: "It looks like the next match, no, but it looks like nothing really dangerous or needing surgery.

"Hopefully we will have [him against Sunderland] on Boxing Day."