Armenia global Mkhitaryan started the season in impressive form, supplying five assists in United's opening three Premier League matches before scoring in the 4-0 win over Everton in September.
Asked why Mkhitaryan was omitted, Mourinho told reporters on Friday: "I was not happy with his last performances and I am not speaking about one or two". I am talking about three, four or five. That was enough because the others, they work to have a chance, everybody works to have a chance.
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Last season he recovered from an inauspicious start to play a key role in United's Europa League triumph, but this term a promising start to the campaign has markedly tapered off. "Everybody works to have a chance so it's as simple as that".
Mkhitaryan has not been the only creative or attacking player to come in for criticism from the United manager, with Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and others left out at various times due to dips in form.
The Red Devils are set to take on Chris Hughton's impressive Seagulls this afternoon, having fallen to a shock 1-0 loss at the hands of Swiss outfit Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
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Mkhitaryan recovered from that knock-back and did start this season well but hasn't featured since a lackluster display in the defeat at Chelsea on November 5.
"The team that excites me is the team that, after five chances, is winning 4-0", he said. In all honesty, Mkhitaryan was woeful at Chelsea and it would be easy to understand if the real reason he hasn't played a single second in any of United's last two games is because he is still lost in N'Golo Kante's back pocket...
The 28-year-old has managed just 2 goals in 16 games this season and Mourinho was not shy to point out the stark contrast in his recent performances. However, much like in his early days at Dortmund it seems the player is once again struggling with the mental demands of playing for a top-club.
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