Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that having a lot of "options" forced him to leave Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the bench. The 27-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Broussia Dortmund in the summer transfer window.
The 20-time English champions defeated Leicester City in the Community Shield and started the 2016/17 campaign with a 3-1 victory over AFC Bournemouth. In these fixtures, the Armenian international was not included in the starting lineup.
Jesse Lingard featured against the Premier League champions on the right wing, while Juan Mata was preferred in that position when United took on Bournemouth. Wayne Rooney played in the No 10 role in the two fixtures.
Mourinho went on to reveal that the changes were necessary for the clashes against Leicester and Bournemouth. Despite settling for two substitute appearances, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager went on to suggest that Mkhitaryan will feature regularly for United as the season progresses.
"Options," the Manchester Evening News quoted Mourinho as saying, when asked him why Mkhitaryan has not started for United.
"I went to the game against Leicester and I was reading the game and I thought we needed the speed of Jesse Lingard.
"And against Bournemouth, I thought they wanted to press really high, and a player like Mata coming inside could reach some spaces behind the lines of pressure and it could be very useful for us. And I decided to play Rooney both games in that position close to Zlatan and I didn't start with Mikhy."
"Some managers when they buy players, when it is their decision to buy players, the first thing they think is to protect themselves and to protect their choices. The players they buy have to play all the time. I am not like this. Before me comes the team, and what I think is the best for the team.
"In those two matches, Mata and Lingard were the best options for the team, adapted to the reality of the Premier League so I made that decision. But Mkhitaryan is a super football player and he will be given a lot of opportunities this season."