Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says it is tough on Juan Mata that he has been unable to get regular football this season, but believes that is the price of compiling a winning squad.
Mata, two-time Chelsea player of the season, has scarcely had a look in this term since Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge - which has prompted reports that he could be on his way out of the club in January.
The Portuguese coach has previously stated his preference for playing Brazilian Oscar in the number 10 position ahead of the Spaniard.
The former Valencia man can also operate out wide, but faces competition there from the likes of Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Willian.
Chelsea take on Basel in the Champions League this evening, and speaking ahead of that game Mourinho says it is unfair that Mata has spent much of the season on the sidelines, but the size of his squad means not everyone can play.
"He deserves to play but I can't start with more than eleven, and if I look at the team for example which played against West Ham," he told reporters.
"Can he play in the Ivanovic position? No. Can he play in the Azpilicueta position? No. Can he play in the Mikel position? No. Can he play in the Eto'o position? No.
But can he play in Hazard's position? Yes. Can he play in Oscar's position? Yes.
But if I play him and I don't play Hazard or Oscar you are [going to ask me] about Hazard or Oscar. It's a consequence of the squad we have.
Chelsea will qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League with victory in Switzerland tonight. They go into the game without David Luiz, who hasn't travelled because of a knee problem.