Tuesday 25 September 2018

'I don't feel attacked' - Romelu Lukaku insists he embraces criticism as he opens up about Jose Mourinho

Romelu Lukaku and Jose Mourinho
Romelu Lukaku and Jose Mourinho
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has claimed modern days players need to learn how to accept criticism, as insisted he has a strong relationship with his manager Jose Mourinho.

The United boss expressed his disappointed with Lukaku after he failed to make himself available for the FA Cup final as he returned from injury last May, but the Belgium striker insists he can take criticism when it comes his way.

"Sometimes footballers, we get soft a little bit," Lukaku told the BBC. "If I listen to players from back in the day and now, a manager cannot say what he wants to a player because you feel attacked.

"But I don't feel attacked, because that's who I am - I am a tough man, but that doesn't come from football, that comes from my background.

"My relationship with him is cool. He makes me laugh, he makes the players laugh, he's a real family guy. He fights for his players, but he's real. When you're not happy, you don't need to fake your emotions.

"People need to appreciate that, at least there are people who are real in this world like him. Because most of the managers in the league, when they are not happy they try to find a way to seem happy.

"You should respect that he wants to keep his own personality and not shy away from confrontation. Here, he really wants us to improve. He is a normal guy, we get along well. He is cool with everybody."

Meanwhile, Lukaku has confirmed that he is in daily contact with former Belgium coach and Arsenal goalscoring legend Thierry Henry, while he is also in regular contact with former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba.

"We talk every day. He is part of the process," he said of Henry. "He has been part of the process since I came to the Premier League. Even though we haven't been in the same dressing room for years, he is still part of the process.

"At the World Cup, he was at the hotel almost all the time. Can you imagine at the hotel for the World Cup, where we were staying in Russia? I had Thierry there and Didier here and I had to sit here and take everything in: 'You did this wrong and you did that wrong, but this you did OK...'

"They know I accept it because I really want to have the same career as they had. They can be as hard as they want, but I take it because I really want the same thing.

"Those guys, they have what I want and they tell me all the time 'you are dangerous, because you are stronger than we were' and I debate about pace with Thierry all the time!"

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