(Reuters) – Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku believes manager Jose Mourinho views him as his enforcer on the pitch and the Belgian said he is prepared to take on any additional responsibility for the team’s cause.
Lukaku has had mixed fortunes at United since his move from Everton in the close season but has found form in the last few weeks and will look to score his 100th Premier League goal in the blockbuster clash against Liverpool on Saturday.
Adding to his tally is Lukaku’s primary objective but the 24-year-old believes his work rate has impressed Mourinho enough to entrust him with leadership opportunities.
“I think the manager thinks I’m like his sergeant on the pitch,” Lukaku told Sky Sports. “And that’s strange for a striker because it’s usually the midfielders.
“I’ve always worked hard and I’m grateful but at the end of the day, I’m a striker and I have to score goals. He has been really good but he knows I have that soldier mentality.
“The work rate I am delivering to the team is a lot and he knows he can come to me whenever. I will always put the team first ahead of myself and that’s something I told him.”
Lukaku joined United in the close season after scoring 25 league goals for Everton in his final campaign on Merseyside.
He enjoyed a bright start to his Old Trafford career before going off the boil towards the end of last year.
He has shaken off his poor run this year and has scored seven goals in the last 10 games in all competitions.
“The desire to win is bigger than ever since I came to this club, because I always wanted to win and to chase trophies. I always put that in front of my personal objectives and he (Mourinho) knows that.”
With runaway leaders Manchester City closing in on their third league title in seven seasons, attention has shifted to the fight for Champions League qualification and United’s battle with Liverpool to finish second behind their neighbours.
Second-placed United side have 62 points and lead the Merseyside club by two with nine games remaining.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)