Romelu Lukaku has said that Jose Mourinho considers him to be “his sergeant on the pitch” in front of Manchester United’s home conflict with Liverpool tomorrow.
The Belgian, who joined United the previous summer for £90m, has developed into his part under Mourinho and at present has 24 objectives to his name over all rivalries.
Despite falling victim to criticism during various stages of the season, Mourinho has repeatedly stood by the forward and praised him for his contributions to the team as a whole.
Having been involved in 11 goals in 11 appearances in 2018, Lukaku is coming into his own at Old Trafford and believes he has now firmly established himself as a key component within Mourinho’s starting XI.
“I think the manager in his mind thinks that I’m like his sergeant on the pitch, and that’s strange for a striker because it’s usually the midfielders,” Lukaku said. “He has been really good but I think he knows I have that soldier mentality.
“I think the work rate I am delivering to the team is a lot and he knows he can come to me whenever.
“I will always put the team first ahead of myself and that’s something I told him, I said ‘the team is the most important thing’.”
Meanwhile, it is believed the United hierarchy are “completely” behind Mourinho’s man-management of situations like that with Paul Pogba, and it will be a case of “the boss’s way or out”.
The Portuguese recently signed a new deal until 2020, but that is not the only way he has been backed by the club. Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward fully endorses Mourinho’s approach.
That is despite the status Pogba has accrued as the club’s most expensive ever signing at the time at £89m and one of their most prized players commercially.
Mourinho is believed to see midfielder Nemanja Matic’s disciplined attitude as a requirement for any summer targets.