Jose Mourinho has noted that he doesn’t mind how many goals Romelu Lukaku claims next season for Manchester United as long as he contribute to the way he wants his side to play.
The Belgian arrived last month for a fee of £75m and has claimed goals against Real Salt Lake, Manchester City and Valerenga during pre-season.
Lukaku himself noted after opening his account in a red shirt that he was at Old Trafford primarily to score as many goals as possible.
But Mourinho, speaking after Man United’s 3-0 win over Valerenga, noted that he was more interested in the way the 24-year-old went about his overall game, as opposed to just how many goals he managed.
“It’s nice, you know, strikers they like to score goals,” he said.
“It’s not important for me but probably important for him. Important for his confidence, for his self esteem. Strikers they like to score goals.
“We managers, we are many times happy with them even when they don’t score because of the way they play, the team organisation and game plans.
“But for them, scoring their goals is always important”.
Mourinho is trying to make two points here: the first being that there isn’t such thing as a good striker who doesn’t help those around him; and the second being that Lukaku, contrary to popular belief, has much more to his game than just potency in front of goal.
His positional sense and movement off the ball still needs some work. He is, like most, far from perfect. But when United do click through the gears and use Lukaku’s muscle to create a reference point around which others can exploit space, we see genuine attacking fusion, and that, I think, is what the Portuguese wants to see more than anything next term.