Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says Robin van Persie's confidence is low after a "very bad game" against his former club Arsenal.
The £24m Dutch forward has scored just three times in 11 games this season.
Van Persie, 31, was substituted during United's 2-1 victory at the Emirates and could lose his place to fit again Radamel Falcao.
"You can count his touches on the ball and 13 is few for a striker," said Van Gaal, before Saturday's game with Hull.
"You know how strikers are," said Van Gaal, "They feel they have to score goals.
"But more important is how he is playing. It was a very bad game for him. That is why I changed him."
Of those 13 touches, two were when he took corners, and Van Persie was taken off 15 minutes from the end.
His surprising slump in form contrasts with the immediate aftermath of Louis van Gaal becoming Manchester United manager, when Van Persie's place appeared set in concrete.
There were even suggestions the Dutchman, who has a close personal relationship with his manager, would inherit the captain's armband instead of Wayne Rooney.
Six months on, Van Persie is not even sure of his place in the team.
Being replaced by James Wilson at Arsenal has raised the possibility of Van Gaal trusting the 18-year-old with his first Premier League start of the season against Hull at Old Trafford on Saturday.
"You shall wait and see," teased Van Gaal, when asked exactly that.
Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, United assistant-manager Ryan Giggs was slightly more expansive, recalling the debut he gave Wilson inthe corresponding fixture last season, when the teenager scored twice.
"James did well when he got his chance," said the Welshman. "United have always given young players a chance. It's part of the DNA."
It is the availability of Falcao, who has recovered from a calf injury, that should concern Van Persie more.
Apart from his match-winner against Everton, the Colombian has not made much of an impact on the pitch since his deadline-day arrival on loan from Monaco.
Off it, Falcao has caught the eye.