Romelu Lukaku scored his first Manchester United goal as Jose Mourinho’s side overcame Real Salt Lake 2-1 in a fiery friendly in Utah.
The Belgian, 24, who signed from Everton for £75m, got the winner seven minutes before half-time to add to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s equaliser after United had fallen behind on 20 minutes.
United then lost Juan Mata to injury and Antonio Valencia to a red card.
“[Lukaku’s goal] is nice for him but not important for me,” said Mourinho.
“I told him I love what he does. He assists, he moves. He holds the ball well. I like everything he does.”
Mata limped off following a heavy challenge from Sebastian Saucedo but is expected to be out of action for a week at most.
Valencia was then sent off for a tackle on Saucedo, referee Allen Chapman speaking to Mourinho before belatedly dismissing the Ecuadorian.
“The delay was because the referee asked me to change the players and I didn’t because I don’t agree with the card,” added the Old Trafford boss.
“Saucedo was really aggressive with what happened to Mata and some other actions where he was a bit dangerous. It’s pre-season so no problem – it’s a good experience.”
You know when you don’t want to do something but you have to?
As soon as Valencia thundered through the back of Saucedo, referee Allen Chapman knew he had to act.
Chapman – whose previous claim to fame was being the first video assistant referee to make an actual decision during a United States Soccer League game in 2016 – first looked warily at Jose Mourinho. Then, after making sure the injured player was being taken care of, he walked over to the United manager.
Please take Valencia off, requested Chapman, aware dismissing a United player in a friendly would create a stir.
No, came Mourinho’s reply. So, almost apologetically, Chapman walked to Valencia, went to his back pocket and sent the Ecuador player off.
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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)