Manchester United manager José Mourinho has praised the non-scoring contribution that new striker Romelu Lukaku makes to his Red Devils side, after the Belgian played a starring role in the 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.
Like everything that he does
Lukaku has forged a reputation during the last four years at Everton as one of the deadliest young strikers on the planet, with the 24-year-old just being pipped by Tottenham's Harry Kane for last season's Golden Boot and amassing a whopping 71 goals in 133 appearances for The Toffees.
Lukaku is certainly a different player to the one that Mourinho pushed out of Chelsea three seasons ago, but the pair have now reunited as United broke the bank to bring the Belgian to the club and got his first run-out in the 5-2 demolishing of LA Galaxy.
He may not have got on the scoresheet but the striker's other attributes shone through at the StubHub Center and it was the case once again as United visited Utah. It was a nervy start - United fell behind early on to Salt Lake - but Henrikh Mkhitaryan kept up his good form by restoring the balance, it was then Lukaku's turn to shine as he rounded the keeper for his first United goal in the 38th minute. Though it is the goal that will stand out, Mourinho was more inclined to praise the other attributes to his game.
"When he came [over to the touchline] for the water, before he scored the goal," Mourinho revealed to manutd.com. "I told him, 'I love everything you do on the pitch. Don’t be worried about scoring or not scoring because it's not important.'"
"He holds the ball so well, he plays one touch, two touches so well," the manager stated. "He sees, he moves, he gets behind people, he attacks crosses, he works with the team and when we lose the ball he presses well."
" I like everything he does. For me, it's easy to feel it, because he was my player four years ago or something like that, his evolution was great," Mourinho added. "He’s now a top striker and the goal is just a detail, not important."
Not doing anything different
Mourinho couldn't have asked for a better start to United's pre-season tour of the United States having picked up two wins in as many games and being relatively untroubled by the opposition. It is expected to only get tougher from this point on as they enter the International Champions Cup phase of the tour.
United make a return to the tournament after a season absence and they are coming back with a bang, set to play the first overseas Manchester derby with City on Friday which will be followed by games against both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
So far Mourinho has put out completely different squads in each half of both games to give all his players game time, and when asked if he would be changing this he stated that minutes for everyone is the most important thing.
"No," he stated when asked if he would stop fielding different sides in each half. "But I will try to go for 60/30 and some players can play 60 minutes against Manchester City and then they will play 30 minutes against Real Madrid and vice versa," he said.
"I will try the same," the 54-year-old stated. "I will try to give minutes to everybody because it's an important thing."
"But it's very important for everybody to compete and we are going to try to do that," Mourinho concluded. "Obviously the level of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona is higher - it's Champions League level."