Published: Sun, October 01, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Romelu Lukaku Facing Surprise Late Fitness Test Ahead of Crystal Palace Game

Romelu Lukaku Facing Surprise Late Fitness Test Ahead of Crystal Palace Game

"I was thinking in the latter stages of the game that probably Lukaku doesn't score in this game and I was thinking he [already] had a good performance and a good contribution for us".

With 10 goals in his first nine games, Lukaku has led United to an unbeaten start to the season and they now sit joint-top of the Premier League alongside their bitter neighbours Manchester City.

"Without Zlatan, we can not rotate the striker, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing also in other positions", said Mourinho, whose side face Crystal Palace on Saturday. But Mourinho insists he will not put pressure on the former Wigan and Everton manager to give Lukaku a break.

The French midfielder was taken off in the Red Devils' 3-0 win over FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League three weeks ago. Until the moment we have Zlatan we can't think about giving rest to our number nine the same way we give in other positions. "We can not do that".

"Belgium is Roberto's responsibility and it's his decision to play him or not to play him", added Mourinho. It's Roberto's responsibility. I can not, professionally speaking, say do this or do that, you know.

Speaking at a news conference before Manchester United's clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday, Mourinho said: "He works hard, he rests, he has a great professional life outside the football pitch".

United have scored four goals in four of their last five matches and Mourinho is thrilled to see more players than Lukaku contributing in front of goal, after his side were accused of being overly reliant on Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season.

"He's injured, he cannot play tomorrow and it's not an injury that I can have the hope I have with (Antonio) Valencia or (Phil) Jones.

It shows the manager has trust in me and I've got to repay him and I think I've been doing that in the games I've played". It's just a global evolution. He has ambitions, he enjoys.

"Now I think, of course, Manchester United is a different level of expectation and he's coping well".

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