Nigel Worthington says David Healy had no problem with his decision to leave the striker on the bench for Northern Ireland's friendly defeat by Serbia.
The national team's record scorer was left out of the starting line-up for the 1-0 loss as Worthington opted to pair Kyle Lafferty and Warren Feeney.
Northern Ireland coach Worthington was keen to see Lafferty and Feeney in tandem, and also revealed Healy's lack of playing time at Sunderland contributed to his omission.
Explaining his decision to axe Healy, Worthington said: "I made it before we met up.
"It is the first time in many months we've had Kyle and Warren in the squad at the same time and an ideal opportunity in a friendly to start with them.
"I thought they worked well together. When David came on I thought he did well. It was a useful exercise."
Healy is on the fringes at Sunderland and Worthington feels the striker needs more domestic games.
He said: "David was fine with my decision. I just told him I was going to start with two other strikers.
"For David, like others, you have got to work hard to get in the first team or work hard to try and get first-team football elsewhere.
"It is a simple thing and I have been harping on about it for 18 months."
Celtic midfielder Niall McGinn marked his first start in Belfast by being named man of the match and Worthington thought it was appropriate, commenting: "Niall is refreshing. He is one of those players who excites.
"He is direct in his approach, which is what I like. He is coming along nicely and is learning all the time.
"He is a different option for us and not something we have had for a while. He has great pace and is a little devil."
Worthington felt his side did not have the rub of the green against Serbia, who won the game through Danko Lazovic's second-half goal.
He said: "We created more chances than them and did everything but score. You have to give the players credit.
"Serbia are a good side with good technique. I thought we stood up to them very well. I was delighted with some of the football we played."
Manchester United defender Jonny Evans sat out the second half after suffering a calf strain and will be assessed on Sunday.
Worthington added: "I thought it was only fair to Jonny and Manchester United we got him off.
"We have iced it so it will be 24 hours before we know what the full extent of the injury is."