Jose Mourinho says it is "frustrating" to be asked why Henrikh Mkhitaryan was left out of Manchester United's win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Armenia star had been ever-present in the Premier League until the visit of Rafa Benitez's men to Old Trafford, a game for which he did not even make the matchday squad.
Mkhitaryan started the season in fine form but has been struggling to influence matches in recent weeks, particularly the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield and defeats to Huddersfield Town and Chelsea.
His omission from the Newcastle game prompted speculation he could be set to endure another prolonged spell out of the team, the former Borussia Dortmund man having spent weeks out of Mourinho's plans in the early months of last season before forcing his way back into the team at the end of November.
Mourinho, however, believes there is unfair scrutiny whenever he leaves a prominent player out of his starting line-up.
"It's a bit frustrating for me, the fact that there is always a question about some player who is not playing or in the best of his form," the United manager told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Basel.
"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 [Michael] Carrick, [Paul] Pogba, [Marouane] Fellaini and every match was [Ander] Herrera and [Nemanja] Matic and the kid [Scott] 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."
|LA Galaxy planning for Ibrahimovic stay|
|NFL will return to Mexico City in 2019|
|Broner vows to end Pacquiao´s career in Las Vegas|
|UEFA should punish PSG and Man City, says LaLiga chief|
|Teenage driver Floersch has ´no fear of paralysis´ after operation|
|Mancini bemoans Italy´s misfortune in front of goal|
|Sprint legend Johnson ´pretty much back to normal´ after stroke|
|Bournemouth defender Adam Smith out for three months|
|World champions France out to end 2018 on a high|
|I told him there´s no future in football! A-Rod relieved to be ignored by Mahomes|
|Dembele must focus and be more responsible - Suarez|
|Neymar could return one day – Barca chief|
|Cole backs West Ham to keep Arnautovic|
|Injury rules Bernardo Silva out of Poland clash|
|Lamar Jackson debut start ´spectacular´ - Ravens coach Harbaugh|
|Babar run out the turning point, laments Sarfraz|
|West Ham boost London Stadium capacity to 60,000|
|A great advertisement for Test cricket - Williamson revels in stunning win|
|Van Dijk one of the world´s best - Klaassen|
|Floersch had ´angel on her shoulder´ in horror crash|
|Gascoigne charged with sexual assault|
|I am going to stay at Chelsea and fight, insists Giroud|
|Hansen to make announcement on All Blacks future|
|I have reached the top by joining Chelsea - Sarri|
|Bonucci tells Italy boo boys to ´live with less envy´|
|Dramatic Pakistan collapse gives Stead first New Zealand Test win|
|Button enjoying racing for first time in years|
|Dortmund chief not planning Pulisic sale|
|Theismann: Smith leg break ´heart-wrenching´ to watch|
|Wolves defender Jonny suffers knee injury|
|Holmes to meet with Sharks amid NFL switch talk|
|LeBron made 51 points ´look easy´, says Walton|
|McGuire signs four-year deal with Cowboys|
|Bears beat Vikings to extend NFC North lead|
|Peng overcomes Davis in Houston final|
|Kerr says this has been his toughest stretch as Warriors coach|
|LeBron scores 51 in Lakers´ win, Warriors fall to Spurs|
|Win more than Djokovic? Let´s chill out – Zverev|
|Steelers´ rally highlights wild day of close, last-minute finishes|
|Modric not worried about Ballon d´Or|
|Saints pull away for blowout victory over Eagles, extend winning streak to nine|
|Martinez laments loss of control by Belgium|
|Logano claims first NASCAR Cup championship|
|Luis Enrique delighted with attitude of Spain´s squad|
|Stevens tells Celtics to get ´tougher´|
|Griezmann: Being Messi´s lieutenant played a part in rejecting Barcelona|
|Curry proud of how Warriors handled Green-Durant incident|
|Courtois: Belgium thought Nations League job was done|
|Howell ends 11-year title drought to deny record-breaking Rodgers|
|Robben dismisses Bayern title talk|
|Huge blow for Redskins as QB Smith breaks tibia and fibula|
|Switzerland 5 Belgium 2: Seferovic treble crowns incredible comeback|
|Titans DC Pees taken to hospital during Colts game|
|Spain 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0: Debutant Mendez spares Morata´s blushes|
|Peterson goes sixth on rushing touchdowns list|
|Titans QB Mariota suffers elbow injury|
|Djokovic hails much-improved Zverev|
|Arnautovic refuses to discuss West Ham future after Austria win|
|Redskins QB Smith carted off after gruesome ankle injury|
|Jaguars shut down Jalen Ramsey trade rumours|
|Classy Zverev revels in victory, hails defeated Djokovic|
|Forget the Nations League was ever invented, jokes Northern Ireland boss O´Neill|
|Magnificent Zverev claims ATP Finals title|
|Mahrez double fires Algeria to 2019 AFCON|
|Mbappe hoping for French winner of Ballon d´Or|
|Northern Ireland 1 Austria 2: Last-gasp winner denies hosts maiden Nations League point|
|Teenager admits assaulting Wales great Thomas|
|Browns deny Condoleezza Rice is candidate for head coaching job|
|Koeman: Netherlands not favourites for Germany clash|
|Dalic ´not sad´ but blames fatigue for Croatia relegation|