Manchester United’s former striker Romelu Lukaku told teammates to ignore the manager’s instructions in last season’s 4-0 defeat by Everton, according to The Athletic.
The Red Devils performed better this time around, managing a 1-1 draw against the Toffees in the fixture that last season Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described as ‘the lowest he’d been’ since becoming United manager.
United lost 4-0 that day in what the boss bluntly called ‘capitulation’. But at the pre-match press conference for yesterday’s game, he said ‘I can, with hand on heart, 100 per cent say these boys will never give up like that team did. These are the boys we want to build the next team around.’
And The Athletic believes that there were certain players in particular that were disruptive in last season’s debacle, with Romelu Lukaku being the worst offender.
‘The striker knew he wanted to leave at that stage and The Athletic has been told he was heard advising team-mates where they should be playing — in contrast to the manager’s beliefs’, the outlet claims.
It comes as little surprise that Lukaku was unhappy at the time, as he himself has referred to disagreements with the Norwegian.
‘Once I learned that Solsjkaer planned to put me on the wing, then I knew my time at Manchester United was over’, he told Corriere dello Sport.
And, as reported in The Telegraph, in response to Solskjaer saying ‘When you want to play with that kind of striker, he is that target man’, Lukaku responded ‘A lot of people try to make me the player that I’m not … they think that I’m like the traditional big guy, who posts up all the defenders, holds the ball and then plays it and brings in other players. Well, I’m not that type of dude’.
Disputes between coaches and players are of course part and parcel of the game but what perhaps is shocking about The Athletic’s claim is Lukaku’s lack of professionalism in trying to spearhead an on-pitch mutiny by encouraging his teammates to disregard orders.
While the manager has come in for a great deal of criticism for letting the Belgian leave in the summer without having identified a replacement, the information does provide an insight into just how disruptive the striker may have been to the United dressing room.
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