Jose Mourinho was criticised by a handful of Chelsea supporters on Tuesday night after leaving Juan Mata on the bench during the club's 1-0 Champions League defeat to Basel.
The Portuguese coach has snubbed Mata on numerous occasions this season, overlooking the fact that the Spanish playmaker is Chelsea's current Player of the Year.
The 25-year-old has subsequently been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, with French champions Paris Saint-Germain reportedly interested, but the Chelsea faithful made their feelings clear after the west London outfit slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Switzerland.
"It's high time Mourihno start playing Mata for crying out loud...let him swallow his pride and play that guy," one fan tweeted, according to the Express.
While another supporter wrote: "I will never forgive Jose if Mata leaves chelsea but No player is bigger than the club."
Mourinho conceded that Mata has probably deserved more starts this season, but the Chelsea coach indicated that he regards Oscar and Eden Hazard as better options.
"There is one thing that is obvious, which is I can't change the rules and I can't start the match with 12, 13 or 14," he told the London Evening Standard.
"I'd love that because many people deserve to play and Juan is one who deserves to play because of the way he works, behaves, the way we see him every day.
"But if I play him and I don't play (Eden) Hazard or Oscar, you are asking me about Hazard or Oscar in this moment.
"It's a consequence of the squad we have where, for these positions behind the striker, we have so many options.
"It's hard for me. I don't have a special pleasure leaving players out. I enjoy playing them and making them happy, but there's nothing I can do."
Whether Mourinho hands Mata a start against Southampton on Sunday remains to be seen, but the Spaniard's patience may begin to wear thin if his manager continues to overlook him.