Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Romelu Lukaku needs to change how he plays at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United caretaker manager has stressed that Romelu Lukaku must reform his playing style if he is to regain his starting place at No.9.

The Belgian endured a tumultuous period under Jose Mourinho this season, managing just two goals between mid-September and Christmas.

He returned to the squad from compassionate leave against AFC Bournemouth on Sunday and scored almost immediately from the bench.

Speaking after the game, Solskjaer made it clear that Lukaku needed to play less as a target man and more as a striker looking in behind the defence under his management.

“He’s a good target man but if you tell him to be a target man he’ll never face the goal,” he said.

“Today he was side-on, so then he could do both roles. He can go in behind and he can come towards the ball. He’s got the attributes of a top striker.”

The problem for Lukaku is not that he is, like many claim, a poor striker. He is a goalscoring menace, as his record shows, and with United looking to play quickly in behind, goals will no doubt come his way.

His main issue, rather, comes in the form of how he supersedes Rashford, who Solskjaer clearly admires deeply. Perhaps Lukaku’s potency in front of goal is better but, in terms of mobility, movement, intelligence and general ferocity, Rashford is in the driving seat as things stand.

Lukaku must demonstrate to Solskjaer that he can perform better outside and around – rather than merely inside – the box if he wants to return to the starting XI any time soon.

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