Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho explained why Henrikh Mkhitaryan doesn't even make the bench

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Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasn't included in Manchester United's squad for Wednesday night's Premier League fixture against Bournemouth.

The former Borussia Dortmund star hasn't been included in seven of Jose Mourinho's last eight matchday squads.

Beaten 2-1 by Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday, Man United bounced back to beat Bournemouth 1-0 thanks to a first half Romelu Lukaku header.

The Red Devils trail their rivals by 11 points and many believe catching City is already nigh on impossible.

"[The title race] is only over in May,” Mourinho told BBC Sport after beating Bournemouth. “If it is over now I go on holiday to Brazil or Los Angeles."

There has been speculation that Mkhitaryan - who was frozen out in the early stages of the 2016/17 season - could be sold in January.

Mourinho explains Mkhitaryan absence

The former Chelsea manager told reporters why he hasn't been including Mkhitaryan in his squads.

"I can only have six players on the bench and I try to have some balance on the bench," said the Portuguese coach.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League

"I had two defenders that can play in different areas, I have Ashley Young to cover the wing and wing backs position, [Ander] Herrera is a midfield player, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is a striker, [Marcus] Rashford is a second striker and a winger.

"To have Mkhitaryan means I don’t have one of them and I believe the others deserve."

Juan Mata was excellent against Bournemouth and Mourinho is probably not very tempted to call upon the out-of-sorts Mkhitaryan.

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Mkhitaryan did start the season in sparkling form, bagging five assists in his first three games.

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes his dip was down to the absence of Paul Pogba, who missed two months with a hamstring injury.

“I think he was a better player at the beginning of the season when Pogba was in the team,” Merson said of the Manchester United star.

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final

“I think they gelled quite well together. He’s a bit unlucky, I’m a big fan of his.

“But I’ll be shocked if he’s there in January.”

The 28-year-old will hope to be included when the Reds visit West Brom on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Manchester United
Premier League
Romelu Lukaku
Juan Mata

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