Jose Mourinho travelled to Belgium during the international break to meet with Romelu Lukaku in a bid to solve the Manchester United star’s stuttering start to the season.
Lukaku has been largely out of sorts at Old Trafford this term, with just four goals to his name from 15 games in all competitions under Mourinho in the current season. The Belgian forward has not scored in his last ten outings for his club.
Lukaku’s concerning loss of form prompted United manager Mourinho to travel to Belgium to watch his striker in action during Roberto Martinez’s side’s UEFA Nations League clash with Iceland. However, Mourinho joked, via the Mirror: “As I told the Belgian press, I went for the weather.
“Beautiful fog, something I don’t have here. I went there, fundamentally, to be with Lukaku, to feel him, to see his situation and his injury. Roberto invited me to meet him, which I decided not to do, because I don’t like to disturb people before matches.
“But I was with Roberto on the phone, trying to feel, trying to understand the problem and the evolution of the problem and, of course, I like to watch football. I was in London within a couple of hours by train, so it was easy to go.”
Problems grew further for Lukaku as the 25-year-old was forced to sit out the Iceland fixture before also having to withdraw from Belgium’s 5-2 defeat to Switzerland, with the striker having sustained a hamstring issue.
Lukaku’s loss of form has seen uncertainty develop over his role in the Manchester United squad of late, having been the unchallenged first choice striker under Mourinho last term.
The former Chelsea boss omitted Lukaku from his starting lineup for United’s 2-1 win over the Belgian’s former club Everton last month, with Mourinho said to have been wanting to reduce the pressure on his striker.
Lukaku also missed out on his club’s wins over Bournemouth in the Premier League and Juventus in the Champions League, though the Belgian did come on as a substitute during United’s 3-1 defeat in their derby clash with Manchester City.
United host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in a Premier League clash on Saturday, and much attention will be on the degree of Lukaku’s involvement in the match.