Jose Mourinho has explained why he has dropped Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Manchester United.
Mkhitaryan dropped out of a Premier League matchday squad for the first time this season at the weekend in the 4-1 victory over Newcastle.
United looked considerably improved going forward, much of which was down to the returning Paul Pogba.
But the performance did not reflect well on the absent Mkhitaryan, who has struggled for form this season and is reportedly already fighting for his future.
The Armenian could feature against Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday, but Mourinho was quick to deflect any questions over the player.
“I think that is a bit frustrating for me, the fact that there is always a question about some player who is not playing or not in the best of form,” he said when asked about Mkhitaryan’s situation.
“No questions about Martial, no questions about Chris Smalling, it’s always about players in a certain moment, match, period who didn’t play or was not my option. The story is always the thing, in some positions where you don’t have injuries, you don’t have options, and always the same players are playing.
“In the midfield it was the same a bit. No Carrick, Pogba, Fellaini and every match was Herrera and Matic and the kid McTominay had his opportunities to play. In this moment, we have Pogba, Fellaini, Matic, McTominay, next week I can imagine you will ask ‘Why is this player not playing?’.
“I decided to play Rashford and Martial together. The question for many weeks was ‘Why don’t they play together?’, now it’s ‘Why isn’t Mkhitaryan playing?’.
“The answer is very simple: until the international board change the rules I can only play 11.”