Jose Mourinho insists he was not punishing Paul Pogba by dropping him to the bench for Manchester United's victory over Huddersfield.
The Red Devils secured a routine 2-0 victory over the Terriers at Old Trafford on Saturday, but France international Pogba was only used as a second-half substitute during the contest, with Mourinho preferring to start youngster Scott McTominay.
Speculation has gathered pace that Mourinho was punishing Pogba following his below-par performance in United's defeat to Spurs on Wednesday, but the Portuguese has now dismissed those claims by insisting that he merely wanted to utilise McTominay's ball-winning capabilities.
Mourinho said: 'I changed a few players and the intention was not to punish anyone, because to punish anyone I also need someone to punish me, because we are a team and when we win we win together, and 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.'
Pogba did feature for the final 25 minutes of the match and he is likely to return to the starting line-up for United's next game - a clash with Newcastle at St James' Park on February 11.