Man United boss Jose Mourinho rules out buying more competition for Romelu Lukaku
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 13/04/18 3:52pm
Jose Mourinho has ruled out bringing in competition for Romelu Lukaku this summer, as he defended his selection policy at Manchester United.
The Belgian forward has started 31 of United's 32 Premier League games this season, scoring 15 times and adding seven assists, missing only the trip to his former club Everton.
That has led to limited opportunities for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, particularly up front, and Mourinho is reluctant to give himself a bigger selection headache by adding another forward.
When asked if he wants to bring in more competition for Lukaku this summer, he said: "I don't. If I have more competition for him, I have more competition for the other ones and then they are not happy because they are not playing.
"So probably I would have to reduce and send some away."
Rashford has made 43 appearances (20 starts) in all competitions for United this season, scoring 12 times, but the arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January has seen the 20-year-old increasingly consigned to the role of impact substitute.
Nevertheless, no player has made more appearances for United than Rashford's 98 since Mourinho took over at the start of last season- a fact a stoney-faced Mourinho was quick to point out when questioned about the England international's infrequent starting opportunities.
"If I was you, I would go in another direction. Marcus Rashford is the player with the most appearances since I arrived at the club," Mourinho replied tersely.
When asked why the majority of those have been from the bench, Mourinho said: "Because I decide that way."
Mourinho was even less forthcoming when questioned about Martial's lack of game-time.
The United boss told reporters: "If I was you I would ask why Lukaku plays every match or why Matic plays every match.
"If you want dry answers, I have dry answers. The dry answer is only 11 can start the match and we have 22.
"That is just football. You cannot have just 11 players. That would be amazing economically for the football club if you had only 11 with no injuries and no suspensions and no fatigue. It would be better for everyone to have only 11 players but it is not possible."
United host West Brom at Old Trafford on Sunday, looking to cement their grip on second place in the table.
But despite United's remarkable come-from-behind win over champions-elect Manchester City last weekend, Mourinho insists his side will not be complacent against a team he is surprised to rooted to the foot of the table, ten points from safety with five matches remaining.
When asked about West Brom's position, Mourinho admitted: "I am surprised. I am surprised because of the quality and experience of many of the players and the squad. With the stability of the past years, it is a surprise for me that they find themselves in this position.
"It is a big challenge [for us] because in football they know anything is possible until mathematically it is impossible. They still smell a chance. Every match that is played and they don't get points then they are closer to relegation.
"In our case, we come from a big result. During the week I was trying to fight that result by working well and hard, trying to make the players understand that it is not enough to deserve to finish second.
"We need the points to finish second. Obviously, to finish fourth, we need four or five points, but to finish second we need much more than that."
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