Manchester United manager David Moyes has heaped further uncertainty over Shinji Kagawa's future at Old Trafford by criticising the Japan international's contribution in the 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Kagawa, making his first Premier League start of the season, was replaced at half time by Adam Januzaj after an insipid first-half display by the champions.
Second half goals from Morgan Amalfitano and Saido Berahino helped the Baggies to their first win at United for 35 years and condemned Moyes' side to their worst ever start to a Premier League season after suffering their third league defeat of the campaign.
The constant omission of Kagawa - which follows Borussia Dortmund's summer admission that they would like to eventually re-sign the midfielder - who made 17 league starts under Sir Alex Ferguson last season, has been met by consternation by United fans.
And Moyes has added to Kagawa's marginalisation at United this season by criticising his contribution in Saturday's defeat.
"I just decided I wanted to make a change," Moyes said of the change.
"We want Shinji to feel he has an opportunity to show what he can do. His best position is arguably at No 10 playing behind a main striker, but he's used to playing on the left-hand side with Japan There is a lot of competition here and we want to push each other to improve performances.
"We are putting a forward player out there but we are not opening teams up.
"I don't think there is one best team. You've got lots of teams here. We changed the team for midweek and I didn't want those players to get only one game."
Moyes admitted he is concerned by United's current plight which saw them fall their third league loss of the season, and second in succession against a West Brom side whose manager Steve Clarke was celebrating his 50th game in charge.
United have been reduced to fourth favourites for the league title behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, who went two points clear at the top after defeating Swansea City.