Der Westen published an interview with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, that will please a lot of Borussia Dortmund fans. The Armenian quite openly explains his recent rise of form, making interesting hints about his private life and speaking about settling down among other things, which might lead to certain conclusions. BVB’s playmaker has also found a lot of praise for the new coach Thomas Tuchel. Here is the English translation of Andreas Berten’s interview with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mr. Mkhitaryan, from the outside it’s looking like you rediscovered the joy in football.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Well, why not? If you approach your job with a positive attitude, you sometimes can deliver even more than 100 percent of what you are capable of. I’m currently feeling very good.
Is it a merely superficial observation, that joy is the only factor behind your rise of form?
Mkhitaryan: A few things in my life have changed – I don’t want to reveal much more, the rest stays private. But from time to time things take a certain development. Just as our football is currently doing: We are playing a different system, which appeals to me. And Thomas Tuchel found the best position for me.
You are known to be a thoughtful, sensitive player.
Mkhitaryan: Yes, that is how I grew up. I feel bad, if things don’t work out. But I put the fact that Borussia Dortmund paid €27 million for me, which used to get to my head, well beyond me. At the moment everything is alright, I feel freer and more relaxed. I learned to analyse problems and to segregate them from my thoughts.
Observers describe you as a humble, kind and sometimes melancholic person. Is it perhaps harmful to be kind and well-raised in this football business?
Mkhitaryan: I was never self-centered. I couldn’t be, because my character isn’t like that. Yet, sometimes you have to be egoistical, when it’s about gaining confidence to either score a goal or set up your teammates.
You sometimes fall out of the cluster of football players, when you are trying to beat the computer in chess instead of playing Playstation like your colleagues on longer trips.
Mkhitaryan: I simply become incredibly nervous (laughs). When I was younger, I played regularly on consoles. Today I’m not only playing chess, I also like to read a lot, watch films or text with my family and friends.
How important is it for you to be home?
Mkhitaryan: Very. I’m there every year, enjoying the time with family and friends. I’m very happy to have been born there. I have to say: I sometimes miss Yerevan, my place of birth.
Are you still studying economic sciences in Armenia?
Yes, I’ll be finished after the exams in winter. Though I’m not thinking about my time after my career yet.
Borussia Dortmund would like to keep you for a longer time.
Mkhitaryan: I still have a contract until 2017 and I settled down well here. Of course you never know in football. But my focus lies with Borussia Dortmund and the here and now.
How big of a part has Thomas Tuchel played in your recent ascend? Are you feeling to be in good hands?
Most definitely! He helps me a lot in training to bring my qualities on the pitch. That does not only relate to me, but to the entire team.
How does he man-manage his players?
Mkhitaryan: He is incredibly meticulous. He is working on every tiny detail. He knows exactly, how to improve the team and how to explain his ideas. We can all learn from him. He is exactly the right man for Borussia Dortmund.
Was the past year a lost year?
Mkhitaryan: I wouldn’t say it like that. In order to take two steps forward, you sometimes have to go one backwards beforehand. You can’t be steady for your entire life, sometimes you need to be prepared for tougher times. Problems make you stronger.
Your first season at Borussia Dortmund was good, during the second season our paper often wrote that you would be very close to your break-through. Will this be your season now?
Mkhitaryan: I would never phrase it like that. I would never neglect my long-term objective and forget, what to do on the football field. I’m confident, that I will play a good season. Afterwards I can asses, whether it was my best season or not.