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Mourinho will wait until ‘last moment’ to decide if Lukaku is fit for FA Cup final

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Mourinho will wait until ‘last moment’ to decide if Lukaku is fit for FA Cup final” was written by Paul MacInnes, for The Guardian on Friday 18th May 2018 13.12 UTC

José Mourinho has said Romelu Lukaku will undergo a last-minute fitness test on an ankle injury before deciding whether Manchester United’s leading scorer will face Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

“[Anthony] Martial is fit and Lukaku we will have to wait till the last moment,” Mourinho said. “I don’t want to lie to you, to say he doesn’t play then he plays, or vice versa. With Lukaku we have to wait.”

The Manchester United manager insisted the past is irrelevant as he prepared to face his former club for the chance to lift the FA Cup, and promised an “entertaining” final, albeit on his own terms.

“Honestly I think what we did in the past has nothing to do with tomorrow,” said Mourinho, who has won 12 of his 14 cup finals as a manager. “I think the winning mentality has nothing to do with records or history in finals. The record doesn’t play. What plays is 11 v 11 tomorrow and everyone trying to give their best.”

Speaking from United’s base at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, Mourinho was asked whether he anticipated an entertaining final against his old club. “I still don’t understand the words of entertaining,” came the reply.

“Do you think 6-0 is entertaining? I don’t think so. Entertaining is emotion until the end, an open result until the end, both dugouts nervous and tense with the unpredictability of results. For me, as a football lover not a manager, that’s entertaining. I think it’s going to be an entertaining final.”

Having claimed second place in the Premier League but endured a deflating Champions League campaign, going out in the last 16 at the hands of Sevilla, there have been mixed verdicts on United’s season to this point. A trophy would change perspective for many but Mourinho says his verdict will not be altered by one match.

“Of course it makes a difference if we win, but it is one thing to make a difference, the other to consider a season good or bad based on one match,” he said. “When I analyse my work, the effort I put in and everything we do in the club, and that includes the most important persons who are the players, I am not going to make an analysis based on one very important match. I know the players’ efforts, what they did. I know their positives and their negatives.”

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