MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho has revealed he apologised to Henrikh Mkhitaryan after substituting the midfielder at half-time during the FA Cup victory over Derby County.
Mkhitaryan, 28, was handed just his second start in two months against the Championship side at Old Trafford on Friday.
But he lasted just 45 minutes before he was replaced with Romelu Lukaku, who scored the second goal in a 2-0 win.
However, Mourinho said afterwards his decision had been "unfair." He told a news conference: "I didn't like what I did, unfair, he didn't deserve.
"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.
"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." In Mkhitaryan's absence, Lukaku came off the bench to score his first goal in five games.
Liverpool is likely to allow Philippe Coutinho, 25, to head to Barcelona in the January transfer window in exchange for a fee of more £140m.
Chelsea wants Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone to replace Antonio Conte as head coach at the end of the season. Chelsea has stepped up their bid to sign Everton and England midfielder Ross Barkley, 24, and have also enquired about England and West Hamstriker Andy Carroll, 28.
Celtic and Scotland international Kieran Tierney, 20, has been included on a shortlist of left-backs Manchester United are considering strengthening their defence, along with Fulham's English youngster Ryan Sessegnon, 17. Alternatively Paris St-Germain will rival Tottenham for the signature of £30m-rated Sessegnon.
Juventus are confident they will be able to sign Emre Can from Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer. The Serie A side have offered the 23-year-old £85,000 a week. Manchester United have triggered year-long contract extensions with Spanish midfielders Juan Mata, 29, and Ander Herrera, 28, England left-back Ashley Young, 32, and Dutch defender Daley Blind, 27.
Manchester United desperately want Juventus left-back Sandro but are being frustrated by the Italian club's reluctance to sell the 26-year-old.
Tottenham are poised to offer improved new contracts to England striker Harry Kane, 24, and Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, 28.
Marseille are interested in Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere but the 26-year-old wants to remain with the Gunners.
Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim says they have no intention of selling France forward Thomas Lemar, 22, to Liverpool during the January window.
Paris St-Germain boss Unai Emery has opened the door for Brazil winger Lucas Moura, 25, and France winger Hatem Ben Arfa, 30, to leave the club in January.
Belgium international Thibaut Courtois, 25, is close to signing a new Chelsea contract after the club offered him a deal in excess of £200,000 a week to become the best paid goalkeeper in the world.
Chelsea defender David Luiz, 30, is desperate to leave the club and hopes Real Madrid may be interested.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is considering a move for Watford's captain Troy Deeney, 29.
Newcastle and Burnley are interested in signing Spanish midfielder Jonathan Viera, 28, from Las Palmas.
Sunderland is close to signing 18-year-old Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn on a loan deal.
Everton are interested in Nice and Ivory Coast midfielder Jean Michael Seri, 26.
Everton boss Sam Allardyce does not want to let striker Sandro Ramirez, 22, leave on loan in January but admits it may be out of his hands.
Crystal Palace has bid for Lille central defender Ibrahim Amadou, 24. Besiktas are interested in Leicester and Algeria striker Islam Slimani, 29.
Barcelona is closing in on a deal for Palmeiras' Colombia centre-back Yerry Mina, 23.
Manchester City remains focused on signing a defender in January in order to cope with the demands of several competitions.
Bayern Munich's comments about Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka have angered the club's hierarchy, boosting Liverpool's position in signing the 22-year-old.
Former Bundesliga manager Jos Luhukay is a contender to replace Carlos Carvalhal as the new Sheffield Wednesday head coach.
Jose Mourinho is hoping to persuade the Manchester United board to table a £50m bid for Tottenham left-back Danny Rose, 27.
However, United could abandon plans to sign a left-back in the summer if Luke Shaw, 22, can maintain his recent form.
Inter Milan are keen on signing Man Utd midfielder Juan Mata, 29, who is out of contract in the summer.
Guardiola's preference had been to wait until the summer to sign Chile international Sanchez as a free agent, but the Manchester City boss has concerns over his squad's ability to challenge for the quadruple.
Premier League leaders Manchester City are also interested in 24-year-old Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.