Lukaku off the mark for Manchester United but occasion is overshadowed

Josh Challies

Romelu Lukaku certainly has big shoes to fill at Old Trafford following the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney but the Red Devils’ new man has got off to a flying start.

After making his debut off the bench against LA Galaxy earlier this week, Belgian striker Lukaku made his first start in Manchester United colours and scored the winning goal shortly before half-time, with Jose Mourinho’s side falling behind but drew level through Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

It’s a goal that should relieve the pressure upon Lukaku ahead of his maiden campaign at Old Trafford but fans will be expecting plenty more following his £75m capture from Everton – and it was hardly the perfect result for Manchester United.

Mourinho lost Juan Mata to injury, who’s expected to be out for around the week, and then also lost Antonio Valencia to a red card – which came about after Mourinho refused the referee’s request of making a substitution as he didn’t agree with the official’s decision.

That in itself is a strange occurrence, as red cards in a friendly are very rare, but Mourinho got what he deserved by not accepting the referee’s request- and it will probably now overshadow the occasion of Lukaku’s first Manchester United goal.

Speaking after the game though, Mourinho seemed happy with Lukaku’s performance and seeing his new recruit get off the mark – although he played down the importance of the historic moment.

“[Lukaku’s goal] is nice for him but not important for me, I told him I love what he does. He assists, he moves. He holds the ball well. I like everything he does.”

Manchester United will continue to tweak their system and prepare for the new season on Friday morning, when they clash with Manchester City in Houston, in what is only the third match of a mammoth pre-season schedule which sees the Red Devils face six matches in North America.

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