Jose Mourinho has left Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of the Manchester United line-up for Monday’s match against Stoke City amid links with a move to Arsenal.
And having earlier insisted the Armenia international would be in the squad for Monday’s fixture, Mourinho admitted that his decision to exclude the 28-year-old had much to do with the transfer speculation.
“I would lie if I said it was a pure tactical decision,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “It was just a choice of the players that we know, in this moment, they have 100 per cent their heads in Manchester United.
“No doubts about the future. I don’t think it’s easy for a player to play when there are doubts about his future. It’s added pressure that a player doesn’t need, so I think it’s the best for him and for us, while the doubt is in the air, to protect him.”