Lukaku quashes talk of Mourinho rift at Man Utd following FA Cup final questions

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The Belgian has sought to clarify why he did not start a Wembley showpiece against Chelsea and shed light on his relationship with a demanding boss

Romelu Lukaku claims to have a “perfect relationship” with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho despite the Portuguese having queried his absence from the starting line-up in the FA Cup final.

As the Red Devils prepared to face Chelsea at Wembley, much of the pre-match attention focused on the fitness of a star striker looking to line up against his former club.

Lukaku had been nursing an ankle problem heading into the game and was eventually deemed to be short of the fitness levels required to play from the off in such a crucial fixture.

Mourinho was, however, to suggest that it was the £75 million striker, not him, who made that call, telling reporters: "It's not difficult, it was his decision, it was his decision.

"When a player tells you he's not ready to play, not ready to start, then the question is, 'How many minutes you think you can [play]?' But how can I convince a player who is not ready? It's nonsense."

Lukaku has now sought to clarify why he only figured off the bench in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, while also seeking to end any talk of a rift having emerged at Old Trafford between star forward and demanding manager.

He said when asked if he was desperate to start the FA Cup final: "Of course I was, but I didn't look good in training at all.

"It was a difficult situation. Obviously me and the manager had a conversation, he's the one that made the decision.

"But we had a conversation after the game, where we were both disappointed that we lost the game.

Romelu Lukaku Jose Mourinho Manchester United no rift

"I said to him, 'I'm looking forward to next season', to see the team that he is going to prepare for next year to hopefully challenge Manchester City.

"Everybody is thinking me and the manager has a big issue or something, but it's not like that, me and the manager have a perfect relationship. We had a little chat after the game and everything is all clear."

Lukaku was speaking at Belgium’s World Cup training base, as they ready themselves for another shot at global glory.

This could be the last time a so-called ‘golden generation’ competes at a major tournament before the inevitable emergence of new talent, but a man expected to provide inspiration in the final third is reluctant to set any targets for Roberto Martinez’s star-studded side.

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Lukaku added: "A few years ago, before we went to Brazil [World Cup 2014] and France [Euro 2016], I was always saying I want to go to the final and win the tournament, because talent-wise I think we have one of the most talented teams.

"But at the end of the day, from the past experiences that I've learned, that's not the best thing to say. You have to show your talent and ambition on the pitch.

"For us now we are using these three weeks to make sure we are prepared, and make sure we win as many games as possible. If you do that, you can have a lot of nice results."

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