Football

Mourinho: Lukaku is now a top striker

Jose Mourinho loves everything Romelu Lukaku is bringing to Manchester United.

The US tour kicked off last week with the 24-year-old completing his big-money move from Everton as United swept in under the nose of former club Chelsea.

Lukaku swopped Stamford Bridge for Goodison Park in 2014 after Mourinho sanctioned the sale of the highly talented, if raw, Belgium international.

Three years on, the pair are reunited at United and Mourinho praised the striker's performance in the 2-1 friendly win at Real Salt Lake (RSL) yesterday morning.

"I think it's just nice for him, but not important for me," Mourinho said.

"When he came for the water before he scored the goal, I told him, 'I love everything you do on the pitch, don't be worried about scoring or not scoring because it is not important'.

"He holds the ball so well, he plays one touch, two touch so well. He moves, he gets behind people, he attacks crosses, he works when the team loses the ball, he presses well.

"I like everything he does.

"For me, it's easy to feel it because he was my player four years ago or something like that and his evolution was great. He's now a top striker and the goal is just a detail. Not important."

Lukaku and fellow new boy Victor Lindelof both got another 45 minutes at Rio Tinto Stadium, where Henrikh Mkhitaryan cancelled out Luis Silva's opener for RSL on a night that saw Antonio Valencia sent off after Juan Mata sustained an ankle injury.

The Spaniard, who is likely to be out for a week, had only just come on as Mourinho named an entirely different line-up for the second half, just as he did in last Saturday's 5-2 win at the Los Angeles Galaxy. That approach will be tweaked slightly when United kick off the International Champions Cup campaign against Manchester City in Houston on Friday morning.

Glamour ties against Real Madrid and Barcelona quickly follow, but Mourinho is more interested in his side's development than victory.

"I will try to go for 60 (minutes), 30 (minutes)," he said of his planned rotation.

"Some players can play 60 minutes against City and then they will play 30 against Real and vice-versa. Obviously, the level of Man City, Real Madrid and Barcelona is higher (than our previous matches) - it's Champions League level, three important teams in the Champions League, which will be a new competition for us, too.

"I know that City are our city rival, I know Real Madrid are European champions, but it's not so important for us to play for a result." - PA SPORT

Jose MourinhoRomelu LukakuManchester United