Jose Mourinho says he did not leave Paul Pogba out of Manchester United's win over Huddersfield on Saturday to punish the midfielder, but felt Scott McTominay would be better suited to the game.
Pogba underwhelmed in midweek as United lost 2-0 to Tottenham in the Premier League and was subsequently left on the bench until the 65th minute as the Red Devils recovered with a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.
But Mourinho explained that he felt 21-year-old McTominay's "genius" in simplicity in place of Pogba would have been more effective in a compact midfield against the struggling visitors.
"I change a few players and the intention was not to punish anyone," Mourinho told reporters afterwards.
"To punish anyone I also need someone to punish me because we are a team and, when we win we win together, we lose together.
"But I made a few changes thinking about the characteristics of this game and I think this kid [McTominay] has a great desire to recover the ball when the team is not in possession, he's a kid that chases the ball, that tries to recover high up the pitch and when he has the ball it is always simple and against opponents like Huddersfield, so close and with so many bodies behind the ball, the simplicity sometimes is genius.
"You don't have space, you have to open spaces by playing simple, so was a decision to play the kid but Paul came on very, very well with a great attitude with the spaces that we had at that time because we were winning 1-0 and Paul could show his talents and his qualities.
"I always try to do what is best for the team in any moment. I prefer to look at it in the beautiful way of a little kid that arrived here with his mum at nine-years-old for the first training session, 10 or 11 years later the kid is playing in a Manchester United shirt in an important match in the Premier League at home at Old Trafford, so I prefer to look at that perspective.
"Paul is a fantastic player, no doubt for me one of the most talented midfield players in the world but to sit on the bench one day is not the end of the world."
Despite having been limited to just 16 appearances in the Premier League this season, Pogba is third in the assist chart with nine to go along with his three goals.
McTominay, meanwhile, was making just his fourth outing in the English top flight in 2017-18.