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Lukaku prepared to be patient at Man Utd as he pushes Rashford & Martial for minutes

5:45 am AEDT 27/1/19
Romelu Lukaku Manchester United vs Bournemouth Premier League 2018-19
The Belgium international frontman has lost his starting berth under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but believes he is playing his way back toward peak form

Romelu Lukaku is prepared to be patient at Manchester United as he seeks to force his way back ahead of Marcus Rashford in the striking pecking order.

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inherited the reins at Old Trafford, the Belgium international has often found himself stuck on the bench.

He is yet to start a Premier League fixture under the Red Devils’ interim boss, having previously been granted compassionate leave in December which saw him miss two games.

Others have impressed in his absence, with Rashford starring in a central role after being moved inside from the role on the flanks that he often occupied under Jose Mourinho.

Anthony Martial is also pushing for more minutes, and was among the goals after being introduced alongside Rashford in a 3-1 FA Cup victory over Arsenal.

Lukaku was included from the off at Emirates Stadium and teed up efforts for Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard, but he is aware that he will have to earn a regular place under Solskjaer amid unwelcome talk of a possible move elsewhere.

He told reporters: “Yes, you have to be patient at the end of the day I had to go away for personal reasons I came back and me and the manager had a good conversation.

“I know it is going to take a lot of steps but you know I am closer than ever to my best and I'm really happy.

“The dressing room is strong. We are a tight knit group. When we went to Dubai for warm wather training we had a good time together.

“We are friends also off the pitch and we spend time together. We always have a lot of banter.”

Lukaku insists that a spell out of the side has not impacted on his professional relationship with those who provide direct competition.

He added: “It is tough and intense - but in a good way. It's all about the team.

“We try to push each other to make sure we win because we know that we are still not in the greatest position in the league still but we all want to be in the top positions.

“We want to win a trophy as well. The manager has done a great job so yes, credit to him but to the players as well and the team. Everyone wants to play for the team - it's the team above everything.”

United have collected eight successive victories under Solskjaer in all competitions and are looking to make positive progress at home and abroad.

They have more Champions League and FA Cup outings to come, while they have also moved to within three points of the Premier League’s top four.

Asked if the Red Devils can force their way back into that pack, Lukaku said: “Definitely, yes, why not?

“We need to keep going a day at a time and as long as we train and play at the same intensity the teams above us will have to watch out.”

United are back in Premier League action on Tuesday when Burnley pay a visit to Old Trafford.