Henrikh Mkhitaryan says it was Jurgen Klopp who taught him how to cope with the tougher times in his career, such as his difficult start to life at Manchester United.
Mkhitaryan spent two years working with Klopp at Borussia Dortmund after the now-Liverpool boss signed him from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.
And Mkhitaryan credits Klopp with having a huge influence on his career due to the way he worked on him as a person.
“I’m thankful to him as he worked a lot on me — on my personality, on my psychology — because I was really very stressed after a few games that we played badly,” he told BBC’s “Football Focus.”
“He showed me the way of what I have to do and how I have to do it. He was always supporting me, saying ‘everyone makes mistakes but you don’t have to bring your head down, you always have to keep your head up.'”
Such advice from Klopp meant Mkhitaryan was better able to deal with the initial stages of his career at United.
The Armenia international joined United from Dortmund last summer but first endured a difficult spell under Jose Mourinho, only establishing himself as a first-team regular in late November, having been dropped after a disappointing showing in September’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.
“At the beginning we had not like problems, but difficulties,” Mkhitaryan said of Mourinho. “But then starting from November, we started winning. Day by day you understand what he expects from you and you’re trying to do your best to be involved in training and in the game.
“Even when I wasn’t playing I had a smile on face because if I would be sad, if I would be mad, nothing would help me. That’s why I was just being passionate, just waiting for the time. I was sure my time would come and I would have one more chance.
“If I was 23 or 24 when I came to Manchester maybe I would have suffered, maybe I would have many problems as I would have taken things very seriously. If I wouldn’t play, I would be sad or I would be mad, I wouldn’t talk to my friends or family.
“Then I said to myself, ‘this is life, if you smile to your life, your life will smile to you as well.’ So I just kept smiling, I just kept working and now I’m happy.”