Adnan Januzaj
Moyes favoured Tom Cleverley over Januzaj in Oympiakos defeat.Reuters

David Moyes chose to leave Adnan Januzaj out of his Manchester United side that lost to Olympiakos on Tuesday in order to give Tom Cleverley more game time.

United suffered a humiliating 2-0 defeat in Athens to leave their hopes of qualifying for the quarter finals of the Champions League in real doubt after a performance that has been widely condemned as their worst ever performance in Europe.

Moyes' selected midfield of Ashley Young, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Antonio Valencia prompted particularly scathing criticism leading many to question why 19-year-old Januzaj was omitted from the squad despite United's next game being 10 days away.

Following the loss, Moyes revealed his decision was influenced by his desire to bring Cleverley back into the team.

"I decided last week I would play Tom Cleverley so I chose not to use him," Moyes told reporters when asked of the teenager's absence, the Guardian report.

Moyes and his backroom staff have been keen to avoid Januzaj suffering from burnout in what is still just his first season in the first team. The Belgian born youngster has made 20 appearances for United in the Premier League this season, 11 of which have been starting appearances.

The youngster returned to the starting line-up for after a three game absence against Crystal Palace at the weekend where he had a first half goal chalked off for a hand ball decision, but with no international commitments Januzaj's next opportunity for first team football comes on March 8 away to West Brom.

United's defeat in Athens marked another miserable evening in a desperate first campaign in charge for Moyes. A defeat the Scot described as the club's "worst in Europe" leaves the club staring down the barrel of elimination at the last 16 stage of the Champions League for the second year running.

"It was a really poor performance. We never really got going and we didn't deserve anything," Moyes said after the game.

"I am just surprised. "I didn't see that level of performance coming, I just didn't see it.

"It's the worst we've played in Europe. We didn't offer enough on the night to create a goal.

"There is undoubtedly talent at Manchester United but we didn't show it."