Jose Mourinho congratulated Romelu Lukaku for matching a Manchester United scoring record held by Andy Cole, but the manager insisted he does not only judge the striker on his goals.
United romped to a 4-0 victory at home to rock-bottom Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, with the Belgium international again on the scoresheet.
After Juan Mata’s opener had been followed up by two Marouane Fellaini strikes, Lukaku converted substitute Anthony Martial’s cross to round off the scoring four minutes from time.
He now has 11 goals in 10 games across all competitions and has tied Cole’s club-record mark in scoring seven goals from his first seven Premier League matches.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2017
Mourinho praised Lukaku for reaching another milestone early in his United career, but felt the 24-year-old had produced a positive performance even before the late strike.
“Of course it is nice for a striker to score, it is nice for him to equal the record of such a legend in the Premier League like Andy,” Mourinho said to Sky Sports after the match.
“But I am happy with him – it doesn’t matter if he scores or not.
“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.
“So Lukaku is not just about the goals he scores, he is about the way he plays and allows other people with different qualities than him to have conditions to shine and perform.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 30, 2017
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.
“We always expect a striker to score more goals than the others but especially our attacking players, they have the freedom to play,” said Mourinho.
“They can always be in finishing areas, in fact I want them to be, so if people like Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial score goals, I think it’s just a natural consequence of the way we play.”
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