Jose Mourinho has revealed why he left Wayne Rooney on the bench during this weekend's meeting with Arsenal.
Preferring a front three of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, the Special Once claimed that Rooney didn't make the cut because he's actually too slow.
The skipper had been in the news over the course of the week following an alcohol-related incident while on international duty, and while some had speculated that this was one of the reasons for leaving him out, it now seems as though it was slightly more tactical.
A section of fans will have almost certainly welcomed the decision, United managed to score their goal just five minuted after he was introduced from the bench.
However, he managed to get on the pitch for just half an hour, and couldn't help the Red Devils collect all three points as Olivier Giroud popped up late on to restore parity.
“I thought we were going to have the ball,” said Mourinho via the Daily Mirror. “Arsenal are a team who let the opponents play.
“I thought we would have space and the ball would arrive quite easily to the attacking players.
“I believed ones like Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were faster than Wayne — better attacking opponents one-to-one in the last line. I thought it was the best option.”
Well oiled engine room
Despite not being able to hold on for the win, Mourinho was full of praise for his midfield, which he believes is now starting to come together as the season progresses.
Using Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick in the centre, United were able to resist Arsenal for the majority of the game.
“The midfield is playing very well,” Mourinho added. “Pogba, Carrick and Herrera are playing very well. The defenders, the way Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo performed, were so solid and confident. We defended high and were compact when we had to be.
“It was a very good performance, but I go home with the feeling that I lost against Arsenal in the Premier League.
“Pogba is adapting much better in relationships, with the intensity of the competition and he’s much more confident.
"Obviously he plays with some guidelines over his position, but at the same time with some freedom to occupy some attacking areas where he feel and thinks he can be important."
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