Romelu Lukaku has been told by Jose Mourinho he will wait for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return before he is given some respite.
Jose Mourinho has told Romelu Lukaku that he will have to wait for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return before he can get a proper break.
The Manchester United's top scorer has played every minute of United's Premier League and European fixtures since signing from Everton for £75million in the summer, scoring 10 goals in nine games. He was only rested for the Carabao Cup tie against Burton Albion.
Mourinho will continue to lean heavily on the 24-year-old striker until Ibrahimovic makes his comeback from a cruciate knee ligament injury. That is not expected to happen until the new year, although the Swede wants to return earlier.
“Look, without Zlatan we cannot rotate the strikers, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing in other positions,” said Mourinho.
“So until the moment we have Zlatan, we cannot think about giving rest to our No 9 the same way we give in other positions. We cannot do that.”
Lukaku has also scored four goals in two games for Belgium to help Roberto Martinez's side qualify for the World Cup.
However, Mourinho would not be drawn on the issue of Martinez resting his player for what are now dead rubbers against Bosnia and Cyprus during the international break.
'Belgium is Roberto's responsibility,' he added. 'It's his decision to play him or not to play him. I cannot, professionally speaking, say do this or do that.'
Mourinho, who confirmed that Paul Pogba has joined Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo on the 'long term' injury list with a hamstring tear, is unhappy United have to face bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace in a 3pm kick-off at Old Trafford this afternoon, three days after a 4am return from playing CSKA Moscow in Russia.
Complaining of 'disrespect to the club', Mourinho said: “I just think it's strange because in every country the decisions are made to protect the clubs and here that doesn't happen.
“I've never had explanations. I've never had the faces, or the names, of the persons involved in these criteria. Next week is international football, so why can't we play Sunday? With Chelsea, Man City, they also don't play on Sunday. Strange.”