Romelu Lukaku has hailed the influence of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, insisting the manager whets his appetite for more goals.
Solskjaer has had a massive influence on the entire squad since replacing Jose Mourinho in December. However, Lukaku has been one of the few players who have actually suffered as a result of his appointment. The striker was a favorite under Mourinho, who trusted him to start even through his barren runs in front of goal.
Under the Norwegian though, Marcus Rashford has taken up the role as United’s main striker and has shone with consistent brilliance. It has all but relegated the Belgian to a role on the bench. When he does play, he is usually asked to play out wide. He has done an admirable job in the few games he has played, though. His performance against Arsenal in the F.A Cup was crucial in helping them get through to the next round.
However, he made it clear that he would prefer to start up front more often. Last night, with Rashford a doubt, Lukaku played up top and scored the first two goals of the game. It was a double that took him into the top 20 of the Premier League’s all time top scorers – an incredible feat at just 25 years of age.
For a player of that caliber to be restricted to the role of a super sub speaks volumes of just how brilliant Rashford has been. It also is a sign that Solskjaer is keen to play a different way to how his predecessor set up. An attempt to rekindle the spirit of the glory days, if you will, and it has worked wonders.
Despite him not starting though, Lukaku has continued to work hard in training to win his spot back. Rather than complaining about his lack of game time, the striker lauded Solskjaer for always being honest with him. He also brought up the fact that he has always worked alongside some legendary strikers during the course of his career so far, and Ole is another name on that elusive list now.
“If you look at my career I’ve always had good strikers helping me, so now I’m here with Ole I’m learning a lot. Every day is another day to learn, another day to improve, and that’s how I see it.”
“He’s really open, really honest in his communication, and keeps me hungry, so whenever I get a chance to play I just want what’s best for the team and to help the team win.”
Solskjaer himself was very complimentary of Lukaku after the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. The United boss hailed his work rate and called him a ‘quality finisher’ after his double at Selhurst Park.
“He’s a professional boy, a good boy,” Solskjaer said. “It’s great to have him in and around the place, he’s always happy, he’s always working on his finishing. He’s done loads of running up and down the line, on the right wing, left wing, he’s had a different role because Rash’s form.
“Here he got a chance up front, two very good finishes, could have had another one as well earlier on. So I am very pleased for Rom, he is a quality finisher.”