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Jose Mourinho’s thinly-veiled dig at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over Romelu Lukaku

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Jose Mourinho has explained that Romelu Lukaku needs to have “great relations with the coach” and “needs to feel important” in order to play at his best, and he believes that is why things did not work out at Manchester United.

Lukaku has starred at Inter Milan since leaving Old Trafford back in 2019, thriving under Antonio Conte.

It has led to question marks over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to let him leave Manchester United, with Mourinho now suggesting man-management has been crucial to his resurgence.

During his time at Inter, Lukaku has netted 64 goals in 95 appearances in all competitions and helped them win their first Serie A title for 11 years.

Mourinho, who signed Lukaku for United in 2017, believes the forward has become “loved” at Inter, telling the Times : “These two years at Inter Milan have given him the stature and the self-confidence that he didn’t have before.

Jose Mourinho believes Romelu Lukaku needs to have “great relations with the coach” in order to thrive at a club “At Chelsea, he was still a kid. At Manchester United, he was still developing. At Inter he became the top man.

“He became loved – a big love from the supporters, love from teammates, great relations with the coach.

“He’s a big guy, physically so strong, but there is also a kid inside who needs that love, needs that support, needs to feel important.”

Lukaku has previously said that he “didn’t even feel 100% wanted” during his time under Solskjaer, explaining that he decided he wanted to leave after being deployed out wide.

Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Lukaku said: “It was after the game against West Ham at home: Solskjaer decided to line up the right wing, very wide.

“The experience in Manchester made me headstrong because not everything went as I had expected: I didn’t win what I was hoping for, my performance was not entirely positive and I didn’t even feel 100% wanted.

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“Not so much from the technical staff or from the companions, but from the people around. So after the match against Chelsea, on April 28, the coach called me for a meeting and I told him what I thought or that I wanted to leave.

“He read in my face that I didn’t want to stay any longer and he replied that he didn’t want to hold anyone against it.

“He understood my point of view and assured me that he would do everything possible to satisfy me.”

Lukaku has thrived since joining Inter Milan (Image: NurPhoto/PA Images) Lukaku added that Solskjaer has his “eternal respect” for how he handled his departure, saying: “He [Solskjaer] earned my respect and, until I left Manchester, there was no problem with him.

“Even the management, however, helped me: I also spoke with Ed Woodward and Matt Judge and everyone understood why I wanted to leave.

“It was a frank and honest conversation. There was no war, but the decision was shared. This is why the leaders of United and Solskjaer will have my eternal respect.”

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