SALT LAKE CITY: Romelu Lukaku bagged his first goal in a Manchester United shirt on Monday as the 10-man Premier League giants laboured to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in Utah.
Lukaku, who joined the Red Devils from Everton in a reported £75 million transfer last week, fired United ahead on 38 minutes, latching on to a low cross from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The 24-year-old Belgian international striker had also been involved in United’s equaliser scored by Mkhitaryan in the 29th minute after Luis Silva had given Salt Lake a shock early lead.
United manager Jose Mourinho was pleased with Lukaku’s display, saying the former Chelsea player was now a “top striker”.
“It’s just nice for him, not important for me,” Mourinho said of Lukaku’s first United goal. “Before he scored the goal I told him I love everything you do on the pitch. Don’t be worried about scoring or not scoring. He gets behind people, works and presses well. Like everything he does.”
Mourinho had sold off Lukaku when he played under him at Chelsea but the Portuguese believes the Beglain is now a much better player. “It’s easy to feel it because he was my player four years ago his evolution has been great. He’s now a top striker. The goal is just a detail, not important.”
United’s win was marred by the second-half dismissal of Antonio Valencia for a reckless lunge on Sebastian Saucedo.
Valencia was given his marching orders after a lengthy consultation between the match referee and Mourinho.
“The referee asked me to change the player and I didn’t because I don’t agree with the card,” said Mourinho, before appearing to suggest Saucedo was to blame.
“(He) was really aggressive in the second half. That’s what happens. Some other actions were a bit dangerous,” said Mourinho. “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 preseason so no problem. It is good experience for us to play with one player less.”