Jose Mourinho has confirmed Romelu Lukaku told him he did not feel fit enough to start the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
The Belgian returned to training on Tuesday after suffering ankle damage against Arsenal last month and Mourinho, speaking ahead of the game, said he’d have to make a last minute call over his fitness.
He was ultimately left on the bench, with Marcus Rashford taking his place up front and struggling to give Chelsea’s back three any problems.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that Lukaku declared himself not fit to start the game.
There was a measure of ire in Mourinho’s tone when he explained Lukaku’s absence in the build-up, and his surly tones only deepened in his press conference after a game which saw United’s aimless passing and lack of strength eaten up by Chelsea’s defence.
Lukaku, no doubt, would have done everything possible to make himself available to start at Wembley. He would have no doubt played through pain. But there comes a point where you need to listen to your body and be respectful of it.
There was a reason behind why Mourinho, over the past couple of weeks, was always notably sceptical about his striker returning.