Manchester United to give Romelu Lukaku fitness ‘until the last moment’ – Jose Mourinho

ESPN’s Manchester United correspondent Rob Dawson discussed how he feels Jose Mourinho can create a side to rival Manchester City.
ESPN’s Manchester United correspondent Rob Dawson gives his view on the club’s second-place finish to rivals Manchester City.
Phil Jones told ESPN that a club like Manchester United should be winning the league plus another trophy to make the season a success.

WATFORD, England — Jose Mourinho has said he will wait “until the last moment” before deciding whether Romelu Lukaku is fit enough to take part in the FA Cup final.

Lukau, who has scored 27 goals this season, has missed the last three games with an ankle injury and only returned to Carrington on Tuesday after undergoing treatment at a clinic in Antwerp.

He travelled with the squad to London on Wednesday but, at a news conference at the Grove Hotel near Watford on Friday, Mourinho could offer no guarantees the 24-year-old will feature against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

“We wait until the last moment,” said Mourinho, who confirmed Anthony Martial is fit to play after the Frenchman missed the win over Watford on the final day of the season with a knee injury.

“I don’t want to lie to you and say he doesn’t play and then plays, so Lukaku we have to wait.”

United head into the game against Antonio Conte’s side after securing their highest finish in the Premier League for five years. It is an opportunity for Mourinho to win his third trophy at Old Trafford after lifting the EFL Cup and the Europa League season.

He said winning the FA Cup would put a gloss on the campaign but insists the result against Chelsea will not determine whether or not the season is a success.

“You can analyse the way you want to analyse and I can analyse the way I want, so everyone is free to go in the direction you want to go,” he said. “Of course, it makes a difference but one thing is to make a difference and to consider good or bad because of one match.

“When I analyse the work I did and the effort I put in and everything we all did in the club, and that includes the most important persons in the club which are the players, I’m not going to analyse them because of one very important match.

“I know the effort and I’m not going to change my analysis of the season because of one match, not at all.”

After making trip south on Wednesday, Mourinho and his players trained at Watford’s HQ on Thursday and Friday. The entire first-team squad are staying at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire and Mourinho says the time spent together has been valuable ahead of the summer break.

“We are not going to see each other for about two months,” he said. “After the game is goodbye, holiday for some and the dream and the motivation of the World Cup for others. But after the game is goodbye and see you mid-July for some beginning of [the season in] August for others.

“So to be here for three days is good, the weather is nice, the place is nice, thank you so much to Watford Football Club for letting us use their facilities for two training sessions.

“Everything is relaxed and calm and we enjoy to be together and as I was saying tomorrow after the match is goodbye.”

Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.