ROMELU LUKAKU has leapt to the defence of Jose Mourinho, blasting: ‘He deserves respect’.
Mourinho was sacked as manager of Manchester United last month after a difficult start to the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come in to replace him as interim boss and won all of his eight games in charge.
Mourinho was widely criticised for his negative tactics, while Solskjaer has installed an attacking style since taking the reins at Old Trafford.
However, Lukaku, who was signed by Mourinho for £75million in July 2017, insists fans should not forget what he did during his time at Old Trafford.
In his first season, Mourinho won the Europa League and the League Cup and then led them to a second-place finish in the Premier League last term.
“I’m not going to compare the two managers,” Lukaku said.
“I believe that Mourinho has done a lot for this club.
“He won trophies, so I have a lot of respect for him. He is the coach who signed me.”
The Belgian striker, 26, has fallen out of favour under Solskjaer, who has preferred to use Marcus Rashford as his main attacker.
But he says he is more concerned with the team’s upturn in form and claims he is fully focussed on firing them into next season’s Champions League when called upon.
“Solskjaer has just started his story here,” Lukaku added.
“I hope that all goes well. I just hope we finish in the top four and that we win a trophy.”
Sixth-Placed United are now just three points off the top four and can continue their excellent run when they host Burnley on Tuesday night.
Solskjaer is putting together a compelling case for the right to take the job full-time and has made no secret of his desire to stay at the club beyond the end of the current campaign.
Many former players and pundits believe he should be given the job now and United legend Norman Whiteside has backed the Norwegian if he can keep on winning matches.
Mauricio Pochettino is also still in the running but talk of the Tottenham boss taking over has cooled after Spurs were eliminated from both the League Cup and FA Cup in less than a week.
“It amazes me how players can go from mediocre to pulling out all the stops and winning eight in a row,” Whiteside said on the turnaround engineered by Solskajer.
“I don’t think it would be Ole at the moment but if he wins the next 10 games he’ll back the board into a corner.
“Pochettino’s name has been bandied about for the last few months but not after his cup results in the last week.
“It’s as though the reins have been taken off since Ole came in – young Rashford is scoring goals along with loads of assists while (Paul) Pogba is getting in the box every two minutes.”