Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he apologised to midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the wake of their 2-0 win over Derby County.
The Armenian was substituted at half-time in only his second start in the last two months, with Mourinho suggesting after the game that he had made a mistake. His change proved to work in the end, with substitute Romelu Lukaku adding a late second after Jesse Lingard had opened the scoring.
"I didn't like what I did, unfair, he didn't deserve," Mourinho said in his post-match press conference.
"But it is not something I normally do and at half-time I apologised to him in front of the people because he didn't deserve it."
Throughout the first half, many supporters and journalists took to Twitter to criticise the 28-year old's latest performance, stark contrast to the opinion given by Mourinho after the game.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not having a good game. Looks like his confidence is gone.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) January 5, 2018
The United manager was in philosophical mood, and went on to explain his thought process behind sacrificing Mkhitaryan after only 45 minutes.
"He was playing well, he was not playing bad, he had a couple of mis-possessions, but he was giving a good dynamic to the team and my feeling was that [Marcus] Rashford is not going to score a goal and because of that I am not going to lose time and I am going to play Romelu and I am going to sacrifice a player and Mkhi was the one I sacrificed."