The Manchester United boss says he can’t afford to give his new signing a break until the veteran Swede is back from injury
Jose Mourinho claims he won’t be able to rotate summer signing Romelu Lukaku out of the side until Manchester United have Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in action.
The Belgian made a £75 million move to the Red Devils this summer and has already netted 10 goals, making nine starts and sitting out only the Carabao Cup match against Burton Albion.
While the club decided to bring Ibrahimovic back into the fold, the 35-year-old is still recovering from a knee injury and is not expected to be ready for a return to the pitch until December or early in the new year.
With Lukaku having also taken part in matches for Belgium, it’s a heavy workload early in the season, but his Man Utd boss claims that he’ll be forced to soldier on until his veteran team-mate can return to action.
“Look without Zlatan we cannot rotate the striker, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing also in other positions,” Mourinho told reporters.
“So until the moment we have Zlatan we cannot think about giving rest to our No.9, the same way we give in other positions. We cannot do that.”
Lukaku is expected to once again be in the starting side for his club this weekend, and despite Belgium already securing qualification for the World Cup, Mourinho says he won’t be asking Roberto Martinez to give his star man a break.
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“Belgium is Roberto’s responsibility and it’s his decision to play him or not to play him,” added Mourinho.
“I cannot, professionally speaking, say do this or do that. It’s Roberto’s responsibility.”
Manchester United take on Crystal Palace on Saturday.