Romelu Lukaku disputes Jose Mourinho's account of why he didn't start the FA Cup final
Romelu Lukaku has dismissed Jose Mourinho’s suggestion that he made the decision not to start the FA Cup final earlier this month, with the Belgium striker also insisting his relationship with his Manchester United manager remains strong.
Mourinho made several hints that Lukaku had decided he was not ready to start at Wembley as he tried to overcome an ankle injury, with his late appearance in the second half failing to avert a 1-0 defeat for United.
"When a player tells you he is not ready to play, when the player tells you he is not ready to start the game, then the question is how many minutes you think you can," Mourinho told the media. "But how can I convince a player who tells me he is not ready to play? That makes no sense."
Now Lukaku has moved to dismiss Mourinho’s suggestion that he had opted not to start the final, as he insists the decision was taken out of his hands due to his injury concerns.
"It was a difficult situation. Obviously me and the manager had a conversation, he’s the one that made the decision," insisted Lukaku.
"We had a conversation after the game, where we were both disappointed that we lost the game. I said to him, ‘I’m looking forward to next season’, to see the team that he is going to prepare for next year to hopefully challenge Manchester City.
"Everybody is thinking me and the manager have a big issue or something, but it’s not like that, me and the manager have a perfect relationship. We had a little chat after the game and everything is all clear."
Lukaku expects to be fully fit to lead Belgium’s forward line at this summer’s World Cup final, as he tried to play down his nation’s hopes of an extended run in the competition.
"Before we went to Brazil (World Cup 2014) and France (Euro 2016), I said I wanted to go to the final and win the tournament, because talent-wise I think we have one of the most talented teams," Lukaku added.
"From the past experiences that I’ve learned, that’s not the best thing to say. You have to show your talent and ambition on the pitch.
"For us now we are using these three weeks to make sure we are prepared, and make sure we win as many games as possible. If you do that, you can have a lot of nice results."