July 16, 2017 / 6:42 AM / 2 months ago

Lukaku praised on United debut as Red Devils thrash LA

Soccer Football - Manchester United vs Los Angeles Galaxy - Pre Season Friendly - Los Angeles, USA - July 15, 2017 Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku gestures after his shirt is ripped REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - New Manchester United signing Romelu Lukaku was unable to score a debut goal in the side’s 5-2 friendly win over LA Galaxy on Saturday but the Belgian striker earned high praise for a solid all-round performance.

“He is a team player. He is not selfish and not obsessed with goals,” manager José Mourinho told reporters of a player who moved to Old Trafford from Premier League rivals Everton last week.

“He was not worried about himself, he was worried about the improvement of the team. So that’s all good.”

The Portuguese manager added that it was impossible to compare Lukaku, who cost a reported 75 million pounds ($98.27 million) to Wayne Rooney, Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer, who recently returned to boyhood club Everton.

“Comparing Rooney with Lukaku is comparing the incomparable,” Mourinho said, adding that the 24-year-old Belgian serves as a focal point of the team’s attack.

The match, played at the intimate 27,000-seat Stubhub Center in Los Angeles, also saw Mourinho hand a debut to Swedish defender Victor Lindelöf, a 35 million euro ($40.13 million) acquisition who came on as a second half substitute.

United wasted little time taking control of the contest, scoring early and often to the delight of a partisan crowd that favoured the Red Devils despite their status as the visiting team.

The home side are halfway through the domestic campaign and opted to rest several players, their replacements looking sloppy and uninspired in a match that was effectively over once Marcus Rashford had bagged two goals in the first 20 minutes.

Marouane Fellaini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Matrial added the other goals for the visitors, before Galaxy replied with two consolation strikes through Giovani dos Santos and Dave Romney in the closing stages.

Manchester United made 11 changes to the side that led 3-0 at halftime as the home side improved after the break in a match watched by former Red Devils and Galaxy star David Beckham, whose appearance on a video screen was greeted with a loud roar.

Manchester United continue their North American tour against Real Salt Lake in Utah on Monday, followed by high-profile friendlies against Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona before the side heads back to Europe.

($1 = 0.7632 pounds, 0.8721 euros)

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by John O'Brien

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