Manchester United’s season ended with something of a whimper thanks to a flat 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Romelu Lukaku’s injury against Arsenal several weeks prior had left the Belgian a major doubt to start the showpiece at Wembley, and was only fit enough for the bench. After the game, Jose Mourinho lamented this and the absence of Marouane Fellaini, suggesting that the former Everton striker had effectively ruled himself out of starting.
This suggested that there was something of a rift between the two, but in quotes carried by Sky Sports, Lukaku suggests that their relationship is ‘perfect’.
“Of course, I was, but I didn’t look good in training at all. It was a difficult situation. Obviously me and the manager had a conversation, he’s the one that made the decision. But we had a conversation after the game, where we were both disappointed that we lost the game.
I said to him, ‘I’m looking forward to next season’, to see the team that he is going to prepare for next year to hopefully challenge Manchester City. Everybody is thinking me and the manager has a big issue or something, but it’s not like that, me and the manager have a perfect relationship. We had a little chat after the game and everything is all clear.”
Given that Mourinho spent large sections of this last season criticising several of his players publicly, it’s comforting to hear that relations with Lukaku aren’t nearly as tense as was initially assumed. The Belgian will be a huge part of United’s plans for next season, and with the club needing to improve on a limp 2nd-place finish in the Premier League and a disastrous Champions League last 16 exit, this is one relationship that really does not need any unnecessary strain on it.