The Red Devils boss opted to go with pace in the final third, but has hinted that he wants veteran midfielder Michael Carrick to stay for another year.
Jose Mourinho has suggested that Wayne Rooney missed out on a place in Manchester United’s starting XI against Arsenal because he is too slow.
The Red Devils shuffled their pack for a home date with the Gunners – with some of those selection calls enforced, and others more tactical.
Rooney was among those left on the bench, with Mourinho favouring Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in the final third.
The England captain had endured a tough week in the build-up to the Old Trafford clash, having been pictured drunk while on international duty and nursing a slight knock upon his return to club action.
Mourinho, though, has revealed that goings on off the field had no bearing on his line-up, with pace preferred to experience.
“I thought we were going to have the ball,” said the Portuguese coach. “Arsenal are a team who let the opponents play.
“I thought we would have space and the ball would arrive quite easily to the attacking players.
“I believed ones like Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were faster than Wayne — better attacking opponents one-to-one in the last line. I thought it was the best option.”
While questioning the physical attributes of a 31-year-old forward, Mourinho has hinted that he will look to keep a 35-year-old midfielder on his books past the end of the current campaign.
Michael Carrick will see his contract expire next summer, but it could be that a 12-month extension is put to the Premier League veteran before the 2016-17 season comes to a close.
Mourinho said: “It’s very sad to know that time flies for every one of us.
“Michael is such a fantastic player and it’s a pity, because I always loved him.
“But instead of being his manager when he was 25, I’m his manager when he is 35.
“We have a good understanding. We know when he can play. We know when he’s ready and when he needs a rest. I’m still having Michael Carrick — and probably for one more season.”
Carrick has been restricted to just seven appearances in all competitions this term, while taking in only 192 minutes of Premier League football.