Ahead of Manchester United's Europa League clash with Zorya last Thursday, Jose Mourinho explained how he was tempted to drop Wayne Rooney in a bid to "protect" him.
The 30-year-old has been the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks and Mourinho, for one reason or another, felt it necessary to take his captain out of the spotlight.
"So I was completely convinced of playing him from the beginning (against Zorya) with this situation in the last couple of days," he said, "but I am not sure if I do that because of the situation.
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"He can't afford to have a performance that is not really good. Because I am here to protect him and not to put him in difficult situations I have to analyse whether the best thing for him is to start the game if he is not totally ready for it.
"So I am going to discuss that with him and the medical staff and decide whether he starts or is on the bench."
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Mourinho would eventually decide to bench Rooney, raising questions as to whether he would do the very same against Stoke City on Sunday.
And guess what? He has. Rooney will start a third-successive game on the bench for United, with the starting XI as follows:
David de Gea; Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind; Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera; Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
So, how did United fans take the news? See for yourself.
The verdict is pretty unanimous: United fans are delighted that Rooney's been dropped.
Despite benching him for a third time in as many games, Mourinho insists Rooney is still is main man and will remain captain "no matter what".
Speaking ahead of Sunday's clash, per ESPN, he said: "Wayne is the captain, no matter what. It doesn't matter whether he is on or off the pitch.
"He is my captain and the captain of the club and the captain of the players. And that is difficult, to be the captain of everyone. So he has all the respect and all the support.
"He is a Manchester United man, he is a great professional and wants to win and of course he was happy when we scored.
"He is our man. He will score goals for us and he will work hard for us, I have no doubts about it."
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