Henrikh Mkhitaryan has barely figured for Manchester United in the last six weeks
Jose Mourinho said Henrikh Mkhitaryan's absence from his recent Manchester United squads is because other players are more deserving.
Mkhitaryan has failed to make Mourinho's 18-man squad for seven of United's last eight games, with his only recent outing coming as a substitute against Brighton on November 25.
Mourinho said his wide range of midfield and attacking options means there is always going to be fierce competition for places on the bench as much as a place in his starting XI.
"I can only have six [outfield] players on the bench and I try to have some balance on the bench," Mourinho said.
"[Against Bournemouth] I had two defenders and [Daley] Blind who can play in different areas. I had Ashley Young to cover all of the wing and the wing-back position.
"I had [Ander] Herrera as a midfield player, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] as a striker and Marcus [Rashford] as a second striker and winger.
"I played [Anthony] Martial, [Juan] Mata and [Jesse] Lingard in the team. To have Micki (Mkhitaryan) means that I don't have one of them and, in this moment, I believe the other ones they deserve [the chance to play]."