Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mourinho doubts Lukaku can top Rooney record

Jose Mourinho does not believe Romelu Lukaku can overhaul Wayne Rooney’s record Manchester United goal tally.

Rooney surpassed Bobby Charlton’s record at Stoke City last season, with a final strike against Tottenham taking him to 253 goals in 559 games in a United shirt.

Lukaku and Rooney will spearhead tilts at former employers on Sunday when United welcome Everton to Old Trafford – the Belgian looking to keep up his goal-a-game record so far this term.

Despite such an impressive start to his career at the club, Mourinho does not believe the Premier League offers a suitable environment for Lukaku to target a place in history.

He said: “I think Wayne spent probably 10 years of his career in a different Premier League than you have now.

“A Premier League where it was easier to score goals not just because of the difference between the top teams and others but also because of the profile and the tactical interpretation of the competition.

“I think this Premier League is much more defensive-minded, and much more difficult.”

Lukaku has taken over the goal-scoring burden at United which fell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic last term.

Iconic veteran Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals last term, before suffering a serious knee injury in the Europa League quarter-finals, a feat Mourinho put into context by claiming Lukaku is better served by his colleagues than the Swede was.

“I think that Romelu has a better team than Zlatan had,” Mourinho explained. “Romelu’s team plays different football and the confidence levels are different and it is a team in the second year of its evolution in some aspects. 

“But I think he also deserves credit for that because of the way he plays, the way he is committed, what he does with and without the ball, not just the last touch and the goal but his overall contribution. We couldn’t be happier.

Mourinho added: “I am very pleased with the contribution but I want more goals.

“The way the team plays, they have to. When a team doesn’t create a lot, when a team doesn’t have the ball, when a team is just reactive, it is more difficult for these players but when the team is in control and makes decisions on the direction of a game, when the team is so offensive, when the team puts so many people in attacking areas, I think they have to score goals.”

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