Henrikh Mkhitaryan: The playmaker reborn

Ahead of Der Klassiker, FourFourTwo chats with multi-lingual superstar Henrikh Mkhitaryan to discuss the influential midfielder's transfer fee and his thoughts on the English Premier League...

Are you challenging for the Bundesliga title or is second place really the limit now?

Sometimes you have to concede a goal in order to find your weakness

We try to be their main rival in the Bundesliga, but it's very difficult to compete with Bayern Munich. They are one of the three best teams in the world, with Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, it's not impossible. We have to play well and win our games – and then we'll see whether we can gain ground or not.

Was last year's collapse merely a psychological thing?

I really don't know, because during the second half of last season, we proved we could still play well and win games. It was the same group of players and the same coach who had won the league before. I guess in some games, it was just bad luck.

When you joined the club, you were thinking a lot about the transfer sum and felt the need to justify it. Klopp often told you to relax and not worry so much. Have you managed to become more carefree?

It's true that Klopp helped me a lot in this regard. He told me that a transfer sum has nothing to do with what a player wants or asks for, it's just a thing between two clubs. I realised he was right and just forgot about the money. I also stopped thinking about other things that used to bother me. Against Frankfurt, in our last home game before the winter break, I missed an open goal from two yards out. In the past, it would have haunted me. Now I forget about it and get on with the game.

Is that because the team is now scoring so freely that you think a miss isn't so important as someone else will surely find the target, Aubameyang or Reus?

No, I just think to myself: this is football. One day you score three goals, another day you don't score at all.

The team is scoring a lot of goals, but is also concede a lot to - is that the main weakness at the moment?

Sometimes you have to concede a goal in order to find out what your weakness is. There is always something to learn, you can always improve. But if you don't concede goals, and if you never lose a game, you might think that everything's perfect. Of course we don't want to concede goals or lose games. The point is to see it as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Would you like to play in the Premier League?

It may be the best league in the world, though I think the Bundesliga is on the same level. Not in terms of money, of course, I mean the football.

But despite all that money, the English clubs are currently struggling on the international stage. Why is that?

I have no idea. Maybe the money isn't spent in the right way.

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