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."
|Arthur ´counting the days´ to Barcelona switch|
|English football must address racism, says Southgate|
|Alisson can be world´s best – Taffarel|
|Ter Stegen dismisses ´Messi with gloves´ label|
|Buffon: Messi more complete than Ronaldo|
|Neymar is irreplaceable, says Tite|
|Conti: Milan much better thanks to Gattuso|
|Show must go on in Hollywood! - Pogba and Mkhitaryan say Ibrahimovic goodbyes|
|Arthur: I´ll find out if Messi is from this planet|
|Barcelona better than Real Madrid even if Neymar signs - Iniesta|
|I haven´t booked a holiday yet - Leno hoping for World Cup call|
|I may be 40 but I´m still Juve´s number one – Buffon bullish over Italy return|
|Italy coach Di Biagio dismisses Raiola rage over Balotelli snub|
|Lopetegui not ruling out Martinez World Cup chances|
|Spain defender Ramos targeting Casillas caps record|
|Pogba gets no special treatment from Deschamps|
|Ibrahimovic to LA Galaxy? Beckham, Drogba, Pirlo and the other stars to try MLS|
|Wilshere out for England with Pickford to face Netherlands|
|Southgate rejects England safety concerns over World Cup|
|Great things come to an end - Ibrahimovic confirms Man Utd departure|
|This is Messi´s team - Sampaoli puts faith in Barcelona superstar|
|Juventus to play in MLS All-Star Game|
|Low confirms Can will miss Spain game|
|Ibrahimovic released by Manchester United|
|Santos not interested in Ronaldo to China links|
|WATCH: Messi scores superb solo strike in Argentina training|
|Koeman names Van Dijk new Netherlands captain|
|Dybala and Icardi´s World Cup hopes doused by Sampaoli|
|I almost s*** myself - Pique on Keane rant|
|UEFA order PSG to close Auteuil stand|
|Brilliant Bale basks in Wales record|
|Neuer needs to play to make Germany´s World Cup squad – Low|
|China 0 Wales 6: Record-breaking Bale leads demolition job in perfect start for Giggs|
|Bale becomes Wales´ record goalscorer with China hat-trick|
|The ´reality for people with a brain´ is Manchester United are in transition, Mourinho claims|
|West Ham ban disruptive fans for life after Burnley chaos|
|Iniesta hints at post-World Cup international retirement|
|All we do is talk s*** - Pique goads Madrid stars over WhatsApp|
|Euro 2016 humiliation helped England, claims Dele Alli|
|Iniesta confident of two more years in Barcelona starting XI|
|Kane probably the best striker in the world - Maguire|
|Wenger told Wilshere he could leave Arsenal|
|If you play for Atletico, you must be committed – Koke responds to Griezmann speculation|
|Giggs: Bale will feature for Wales in China Cup|
|Maradona: Messi doesn´t have to prove himself by winning World Cup|
|Cristiano Ronaldo hasn´t asked to leave Real Madrid amid China links – Perez|
|Manchester United apply for professional women´s team|
|Bolt a fan of Ronaldo, but compares his talent to Messi´s|
|Heynckes definitely leaving at end of season, claims Ze Roberto|
|Shaw issue a distraction from Manchester United´s failures, says Neville|
|Hamsik withdraws from Slovakia squad|
|Griezmann backs Pogba to prove doubters wrong for France|
|Sanchez ´expected something better´ from Manchester United move|
|Javi Martinez in the dark over Spain squad omission|
|Giggs feeling the tension ahead of Wales debut|
|Juventus confirm Alex Sandro thigh injury|
|Hart praises ´loyal guy´ Southgate amid World Cup axe fears|
|I miss Morata, says recalled Costa|
|I can improve even more at Manchester City - Bernardo Silva|
|Neymar will be fit for the World Cup, insists Ronaldo|
|Costa thinks Griezmann will stay at Atletico Madrid|
|Ferdinand worried by England´s World Cup striker options|
|Stam leaves Reading after wretched run|
|Neymar is great, we´ll see if he joins Real Madrid – Asensio|
|Maguire tips ´nightmare´ Vardy to replace injured Kane|
|Malcom ready to leave Bordeaux and chase Bayern ´dream´|
|Asensio insists Zidane was not unfair to him|
|Griezmann wants future resolved before World Cup|
|Nocerino wants Conte return after Italy´s World Cup ´disaster´|
|Iconic 2002 World Cup haircut was media distraction, reveals Ronaldo|
|Wright: Difficult for Liverpool sensation Salah to resist Real Madrid|
|Yaya Toure yet to report for international duty, confirm Ivory Coast|
|Morrison confirms plans to play for Jamaica|