Juan Mata failed to secure a place in the Manchester United side that took on CSKA Moscow last night as he was in need of a rest, according to boss Louis van Gaal.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils chief insisted that he had to rotate Mata as the Spain international had previously 'played almost every game'.
In place of the former Chelsea man, English youngster Jesse Lingard took to the pitch in what was his first start of the campaign.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Lingard impressed during the first-half, but it was talented forward Anthony Martial who saved the Red Devils' blushes as they secured a 1-1 draw in Russia.
Martial, who had previously given away a penalty for handling the ball, headed home in style after Ecuadorian full-back Antonio Valencia picked him out with a fine cross.
With the Manchester derby on the horizon, it's far from certain as to whether Mata will be recalled to the starting XI, but United fans will be pleased to learn that he isn't an injury concern.
After the Champions League outing, Van Gaal told reporters: “I have to rotate. Mata has played almost every game. He needs a bit of a rest.”
There should be no underestimating the importance of this weekend's fixture between United and Manchester City.
Van Gaal's side, who flirted with the idea of sustaining a title challenge last term, weren't quite up to scratch as Jose Mourinho's ruthless Chelsea side eased to the title.
This season, however, United appear to be a far more balanced outfit, so will be determined to return to the summit of the division sooner rather than later. A victory over their noisy neighbours on Sunday would send a message to their rivals.
Will Manchester United beat Manchester City this weekend? Have your say below!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms