Jose Mourinho slams referee after Valencia sees red with Lukaku netting in Manchester United win
New signing Romelu Lukaku got off the mark with the winning goal in his first start for Manchester United on Monday as the English Premier League club came from behind to beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in a pre-season friendly in Utah.
United manager Jose Mourinho was furious another of his forwards, Antonio Valencia, was shown a straight red card in the second half for a foul on Sebastian Saucedo and refused the referee`s request to substitute the Ecuadorian winger.
"I didn`t because I don`t agree with the card," the Portuguese said. "Because Saucedo, I think is the name of the boy, he was really aggressive during all of the second-half. " It’s young people with enthusiasm playing against Manchester United, but it’s a friendly match and it’s a different mentality. But it’s pre-season so no problem. It is good experience or us to play with one player less."
Lukaku lashed home a left-footed shot in the 38th minute after taking three touches to round a defender and the Salt Lake keeper, providing the first returns on a transfer fee media reports put at just under $100 million.
"I`m delighted with the win for the team," the Belgium international striker, who moved from Everton last week, told MUTV.
"I`m here to score goals and to be sort of the focal point for the team but at Manchester United we play to win, and that`s my mentality when I get on the pitch and everything else comes with it."
Henrikh Mkhitaryan had scored United`s first goal of the match just before the half hour mark to cancel out Luis Silva`s 20th minute opener for the home side.
Spanish midfielder Juan Mata was forced off the pitch after a Saucedo challenge and Italian defender Matteo Darmian was also injured during the match.
"Mata has a (swollen) ankle but I hope it is nothing important," Mourinho said.
"A few days, a week, probably. Darmian`s problem is not an important one."
In fact, Saucedo appears to have come off worse and was seen with crutches on his way out of Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke defended his player in the wake of Mourinho`s comments as he respectfully disagreed with a man he calls his "mentor" and "favourite manager".
"Oh man, I am trying to skate around this one right here," Petke said with a laugh.
My favorite Mike Petke interview so far: pic.twitter.com/HR08aLh9MU
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) July 18, 2017
"I`ll say this, Sebastian got hit pretty hard a couple of times and I don`t know if the Mata situation happened before.
"I can tell you my opinion is that, having coached him and knowing him on a personal level, there was no intent. He was just playing hard.
"It would be like if the New York Yankees went over anywhere around the world and played another team. The team would play extremely hard.
"If the Golden State Warriors went over to Europe, every team would be playing hard.
"You know, it`s like the US Open Cup when MLS teams go and play so-called lesser teams – which they are not but lower-division teams – and it`s their championship, their World Cup.
"So perhaps that is what some of our guys (were like). I know it wasn`t intent from Sebastian whatsoever.
"But I don`t know if you saw, I walked halfway across towards the Man United bench and that was to tell them I`d like them to put somebody back on.
"I`m here to score goals."Job done tonight then, @RomeluLukaku9! 💪 Watch more player interviews on #MUTV: https://t.co/vUU4SB9xdO pic.twitter.com/nVxpcqIXGX
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 18, 2017
"I don`t want to play a man up. I want my guys to get a real game against one of the best in the world.
"So if he feels that way, he has got a hell of a lot more experience than me and he has won a hell of a lot more than me, so he`s probably right but I am little irrational.
"I don`t think there was an intent with the Mata thing and I think that was a red card with what happened with Valencia."