Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku hails debut win, “intense” Pogba friendship, Henry’s tutelage

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Sunday couldn’t have gone much better for Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United’s $97-million superstar signing from the summer, as the big Belgian striker scored twice on his Premier League debut for the club and helped the Red Devils to a 4-0 victory over West Ham United.

[ RECAP: Man United thrash West Ham to opening 2017-18 season ]

After the game, the 24-year-old joined the NBC Sports broadcast team field-side at Old Trafford for a lengthy interview (above video) on a wide range of topics — from his own performance on the day, to his “intense, competitive” relationship with Paul Pogba, to the icons of the game who bestowed their wisdom upon him during his five years in England, and so much more.

“[It was] a difficult first 20 minutes, I’d say, but then afterwards we found the spaces to play and we played at a higher tempo. From the press of Nemanja [Matic] we recovered the ball and he went really quickly; before the ball came to me, I had a couple looks at the goalkeeper; the pass from Marcus [Rashford] was excellent, so it was all instincts.

“The second goal was a good free kick from [Henrikh Mkhitaryan], something we worked on in training. From then on, we really controlled the game. We tried to be entertaining for the fans. That’s what they want at Manchester United.”

“Our relationship is really intense. He’s really competitive at the training ground, outside the training ground really competitive, and on the pitch we just want to win. We’re two winners.

“When we play opposite each other, the guy that loses he’s going to get stick until the next day, or has to serve the other guy for the whole day. We are like that, we’re really competitive. Playing together, I think is the best thing, because he has things in his game that I want to have, and I have things in my game that he wants to have, so we try to learn from each other. We push each other everyday on another level.”

[ VIDEO: Lukaku scores his first Man United goal ]

“I think [having Thierry Henry as a coach at mentor with the Belgian national team] is the best thing that happened to me. He’s the best thing that happened to me.

“If I look back, from 18 when I came to England until now, I’ve had possibly the five best strikers in the last 10 years as mentors. I had Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres, and now Thierry Henry. … I think it’s the best thing that could happen in my career as a young guy. … Everyday, if it’s negative or it’s positive, I really take it in stride because I know what is expected at the top level.”

Mourinho: Manchester United flying at final whistle

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Jose Mourinho didn’t want to sound too positive after Manchester United’s sterling performance on Opening Day, but he couldn’t help himself.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 4-0 West Ham ]

While saying the match was more difficult than it looked, admitting that West Ham did come close to making it 2-1 through Marko Arnautovic, Mourinho said his side was humming at the final whistle.

“At 2-nil they had a chance and I don’t think the game (goes to) 4-nil,” Mourinho said. “Then of course we scored the third goal, you breathe and you relax but probably if you play 10 more minutes, more goals.”

He said United’s start of the match wasn’t what he wanted, but downplayed the lively post-match tenor of, well, everyone else. From the BBC:

“The fact we start winning and are top, it means nothing. The performance and the levels of confidence is what means a lot to me.”

United center back Phil Jones joined NBC’s broadcast crew on the Old Trafford pitch after the game, and said the side accomplished its goals for Opening Day.

“It was well-documented last season that we didn’t pick up as many points as we should’ve at home for whatever reason. It was important for us and the fans to feel and get some positive vibes at the start of the season.”

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Finally, hero Romelu Lukaku bagged a brace and said United fans can expect more of the same from Mourinho’s crew (from the BBC):

“The fans want to see attractive football and we have to stick to that. They will be pleased today. It is just the start, we need to keep working to the manager’s plan.”

Manchester United 4-0 West Ham United: Lukaku delivers the goods

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  • Lukaku scores in each half
  • Martial, Pogba score late
  • Mkhitaryan with two assists
  • Last goal pushes United top

Romelu Lukaku made a huge first impression for Manchester United in the Premier League, and the Red Devils were delightful in a 4-0 win over visiting West Ham United at Old Trafford.

Anthony Martial had a goal and an assist, Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a pair of assists, and Paul Pogba also scored for United. The Red Devils are off to Swansea next week, while West Ham stays on the road and faces Southampton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The name of the game’s early stages was grit, as hard tackles dotted a landscape of frenetic movement.

United came close to scoring in the 18th minute, and West Ham’s back line did well to stop a prone Romelu Lukaku from testing Joe Hart.

Paul Pogba spied Juan Mata in the 27th minute, and the Spaniard looked set to square a ball for a Lukaku goal, but Angelo Ogbonna was on the scene to deny the chance.

A goal was coming to Old Trafford, and Lukaku provided it. The build-up was impressive, as Nemanja Matic broke up a spell of West Ham possession to spring Marcus Rashford

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It was Lukaku again after the break, scoring a 53rd minute header off a Henrikh Mkhitaryan and United was well on its way.

Marko Arnautovic nearly snapped the Irons back into the match with a header over Daley Blind, but it moved just over the bar.

It was back to business for United after that, and Rashford saw a curling beauty just miss and clatter off the far post.

Martial came into the game late and did not disappointing, running onto a Mkhitaryan through ball to beat Joe Hart, and then setting up Pogba to do the same.

VIDEO: Romelu Lukaku feasts after Rashford, Matic make difference

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A goal was coming to Old Trafford in the first half of Manchester United’s home opener versus West Ham United, and Romelu Lukaku provided it.

[ MORE: Watch the second half, or start from 0:00 here ]

Chances were not at a premium as Jose Mourinho’s men poured forward at the Irons.

The build-up was impressive, as Nemanja Matic broke up a spell of West Ham possession to spring Marcus Rashford toward the box.

Then came the big Belgian and his powerful left foot.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

UEFA Super Cup: Real holds on to top Man Utd (video)

AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski
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  • Madrid wins fourth Super Cup
  • One shy of Milan, Barcelona
  • United now 1-3 in Super Cups

Casemiro and Isco helped Real Madrid to a two-goal lead, then watched as Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United nearly came back to force extra time in the UEFA Super Cup Final on Tuesday in Macedonia.

The 2-1 win gives Real its third Super Cup in four seasons, with Barcelona winning the outlier in 2015.

United will turn its attention to Sunday’s Premier League opener at West Ham, while Real will meet rivals Barca in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. The second leg is Aug. 16 in Madrid.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Those expecting a parked bus from Jose Mourinho don’t appreciate the confidence he has in his Manchester United charges, as evidenced by the start of the match.

United was on the front foot from moment one against Real, who started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. The chances were minimal, though, and the biggest danger came in the 16th minute at the other end of the pitch when Casemiro headed a cross off the cross bar. At the other end, a decent United counter turned into a wasted rip from distance by Paul Pogba.

Real worked its way into the match, however, and United was pushed back into its own end when an ever-so-slightly offside Casemiro beat Victor Lindelof to Dani Carvajal’s diagonal ball and slotted home with his left foot.

David De Gea made a nice horizontal slap save of a Luka Modric shot as the match neared halftime, largely sleepy for the final 20 minutes.

Isco made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, and it was clear United was second best. The 25-year-old Spaniard worked a 1-2 with Gareth Bale to easily pick apart Man Utd’s back line.

United should’ve equalizer when Keylor Navas spilled Paul Pogba’s header into the path of Romelu Lukaku, but the big Belgian blazed wide of the goal.

Momenst after Bale cranked a shot off the cross bar, Lukaku restored some hope to United when Navas’ saved Nemanja Matic‘s rip into the path of the big money striker. Lukaku wouldn’t miss twice from that area, and it was 2-1 with just under a half hour to play.

A facial injury to Marouane Fellaini caused a three-minute delay in the match with about 15 minutes to play, though the Belgian was repaired suitably and didn’t leave the pitch for more than a minute.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan played Marcus Rashford through for a would-be equalizer, but Navas tipped the shot wide for a corner that Real handled well.

Cristiano Ronaldo subbed into the match in the 83rd minute.

Fellaini was stymied by Navas in the first minute of stoppage, and De Gea denied Marco Asensio at the other end.