(Reuters) - Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has curtailed his vacation and will join Manchester United at the start of their Premier League campaign, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
Mourinho called for the club’s World Cup participants to shorten their rest days after last month’s tournament to help United, who have also been hindered by injuries, avoid a poor start to the league season.
England duo Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford were already set to return early and United will now be boosted by Lukaku’s decision as they prepare to host Leicester City in their first league game on Aug. 10.
“We will have (Victor) Lindelof who started training two days ago,” Mourinho said after United’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the pre-season International Champions Cup (ICC) on Wednesday.
“Marcus Rashford, Jones and Lukaku, because they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holidays, so they are coming back three days early to try to be available for the team.”
The Portuguese boss praised his senior players for the intensity they showed in United’s pre-season tour but insisted the fixtures did not reveal anything new strategically.
“I didn’t learn anything (tactically). I know what (Ander) Herrera is, I know what (Juan) Mata is, I know what (Alexis) Sanchez is, I know what they are... I know the kids need time to grow up,” Mourinho said.
“The boys tried everything, they gave everything, they know we have to try to fight for the best result but tactically it means nothing.”
United have won two of their five pre-season fixtures so far and will be keen to make a quick start in their quest to win silverware this season.
Mourinho was unsure, however, if Anthony Martial would return in time to play Sunday’s final friendly against Bayern Munich after the Frenchman left the team’s pre-season tour early to attend the birth of his daughter.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty