Dortmund - It was a first half of the season to forget for Borussia Dortmund and also for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Without a single goal to his name, and not through a lack of chances, an injury then brought his year to a premature end.
'It's incredible the way we carry on struggling'
He returns to action in 2015 with Dortmund inside the relegation zone and, despite being named Armenia's Footballer of the Year for a record fifth time, he does not have a lot of positives to look back on, even if he's trying to keep a positive frame of mind for the months to come.
In an exclusive bundesliga.com interview, the 25-year-old playmaker talks about how BVB got into the position they are in, and how they can get out.
bundesliga.com:Henrikh Mkhitaryan, are you pleased given the first half of the season Dortmund have had that you now get a winter break?
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Definitely. The winter break certainly comes at just the right time as it gives the team the chance to recharge our batteries and also to switch off entirely, which we need more than anything to be able to start the second half of the season full of motivation. For me personally, I've got the time I need to recover fully from my muscular injury so that I can also take part in our preparations in January.
'I just hope that things will go differently in 2015'
bundesliga.com: Why have you not been able to put a run of wins together?
Mkhitaryan: I think that it's purely in our minds. For example, after we got three points against Borussia Mönchengladbach, we clearly thought that we were also going to beat SC Paderborn. It's a lot of things all coming together - the injury problems, lack of self-confidence, refereeing decisions which didn't always go our way and so on, but it's incredible the way we carry on struggling.
Did you notice any changes within the team during the first half of the season?
It's pretty obvious that you lose a bit of your composure in such precarious situations and you have less self-confidence too. We're just lacking the wins. We're lacking the fun we had in our game in recent years. It's a new situation for pretty much all of us and that makes it hard to deal with.
bundesliga.com: Personally, you've not scored a single goal despite having chances. What's the problem?
Mkhitaryan: That's something else which is in the head. I just need to celebrate one goal and then I'll start scoring more again. But either the opposition goalkeeper was always in the way or I made the wrong decision with my shot. I just hope that things will go differently in 2015.
Interview by Alexis Menuge