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Henrikh Mkhitaryan explains how Unai Emery's tactics hampered his attacking contributions at Arsenal

Mkhitaryan Emery

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has told FourFourTwo how Unai Emery helped bring his Arsenal career to a premature end.

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The Armenian joined the Gunners from Manchester United in January 2018 when Arsene Wenger was still in charge at the Emirates.

Mkhitaryan played under Emery for just one full season, making 38 appearances, before joining Roma on loan this September.

Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo in our December 2019 issue, a managers' special out on Tuesday (November 19), the 30-year-old explained how life changed under the Spaniard.

“He paid more attention to tactics, so my role changed,” said Mkhitaryan. “I was starting as a winger, but had to build play with 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 that the manager asks.”

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Mkhitaryan made a promising start to life in north London, bagging three assists on his first Gunners against Everton in February 2018.

But the former Borussia Dortmund star found first-team opportunities harder to come by as his Arsenal career developed, so sought pastures new in Rome for 2019-20.

“I couldn’t accept that I had to sit on the bench for some matches,” said Mkhitaryan. “I know my qualities and what I can do.

“I’m 30 years old now and I like to play football, not just sit on the bench and waste my time.

“Emery and [head of football] Raul Sanllehi assured me I was important for Arsenal, but I signed for Roma because they believed in me more.”

Read the full interview with Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the December 2019 issue of FourFourTwo. In a managers special, Rafa Benitez gives us the lowdown on Liverpool, Mike Ashley and Real Madrid, and former Ostersund miracle-worker Graham Potter outlines his ambitions with Brighton. We also catch up with former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, who shares his 10-point plan to ensure success in the dugout, and hear how ex-Rangers and Leeds defender David Robertson ended up in a war zone leading Real Kashmir. Elsewhere, we remember the darkest hours that helped Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Brian Clough, Carlo Ancelotti and more forge incredible careers, find out why Diego Simeone became one of the decade's most decorated managers, and hail the maddest gaffers of all time.

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