MANCHESTER — Jose Mourinho says he “trusts” Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to fill Romelu Lukaku’s boots while the Belgium striker recovers from injury.
Lukaku will miss Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Friday night because of an ankle injury sustained during the 2-1 win over Arsenal last weekend.
The 24-year-old, who has scored 27 goals this season, is receiving treatment in Belgium, although Mourinho expects the former Everton man to be available for the FA Cup final with Chelsea on May 19.
United have fixtures before then with games against West Ham and Watford following the trip to Brighton.
And Mourinho insists Rashford and Martial, who have played out wide for much of the season, can do Lukaku’s job down the middle.
He told a prematch news conference: “They have had limited opportunities because Romelu has played all the games this season and was playing well and was playing the way I wanted him to play and has had no injuries, no suspensions, but I do trust them, no problem.”
United need four points from remaining games against Brighton, West Ham and Watford to secure second place in the Premier League this season.
It would be their best finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
And Mourinho insists it would represent a successful league campaign,
He said: “We really deserve to be second. We beat every top team during the season. We beat them all in the last three or four months. We are going normally to reach the 80-point barrier and we deserve to finish second.
“If we finish second, we are the second best team in the Premier League, which I think is very good — especially because the first was the best.
“They deserve to win and they gave no chances to other clubs to feel that extra motivation of if they push and push they are going to get them.
“They didn’t allow the other teams to have that feeling, so I think if we finish second it’s a very good Premier League for us.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.