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Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has described Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho as “real” after the Portuguese’s emotional reactions in recent press conferences.
United have had a slow start to the 2018-19 Premier League season, with losses against Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur sandwiched between wins against Leicester City and Burnley, and Mourinho has come under criticism for the club’s form.
The 55-year-old walked out of his post-match media duties following the 3-0 defeat to Spurs in August and called for “respect” from the journalists present. However, Lukaku has praised his coach for not containing his feelings.
Speaking to BBC’s Football Focus, the Belgium international said:
“People know a side from him which is he’s a winner. But what I like about him is he’s not going to fake his emotions.
“When he’s mad, you know he is mad. When he’s happy, you see he is happy. I don’t understand why people don’t like the realness about him.
“When he’s mad at me I know he is mad at me, and I try to do what he wants so he is happy again.
“[…] My relationship with him is cool. He makes me laugh, he makes the players laugh, he’s a real family guy. He fights for his players, but he’s real. When you’re not happy, you don’t need to fake your emotions.”
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As the Express‘ Joshua Peck reported, Mourinho is under pressure at United after recent results have left the club in 10th place, with Zinedine Zidane a rumoured target to take over.
Mourinho has been irritable in his recent press conferences, and the coach was forced to defend his position again on Friday, highlighting his critics’ “compulsive lies” after Marcus Rashford’s playing time and future were called into question.
Lukaku’s comments suggest the manager has not lost the dressing room at United, but performances need to improve quickly if Mourinho is to survive beyond this season.
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A lack of silverware last term was compensated by second place in the Premier League, but fans were critical of the team after they were eliminated by Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
The discord has continued this season, and the lack of joy emanating from Mourinho has continued to fill column inches since the summer.