Old Trafford boss uses USA tour to try out new pairing – after mainly using Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his own up front last term
JOSE MOURINHO is ready to give Manchester United their first potent strikeforce since Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.
Mourinho plans to use his time out here in the United States to experiment with Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford up front.
Last season the Red Devils boss played mostly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his own up top.
That meant England starlet Rash was pushed out wide left of a three behind a lone striker.
It is not his favoured position as he thrives on playing down the middle.
The move lead to a dip in form for the 19-year-old, who made such an impact following his debut in February 2016.
He scored eight goals in 18 games that season — but was down to 11 in 53 last campaign.
And he suffered a goal drought between September 24 and January 7.
But Mourinho can see a way of getting the best out of Rashford with Lukaku alongside.
It would mean playing a 3-5-2, the formation he used in both halves of the 5-2 win over LA Galaxy in United’s opening tour match on Saturday night.
Rash played alongside Juan Mata in the first half and scored twice — and could have had a hat-trick.
In the second half Lukaku played with Anthony Martial but failed to find the net.
Mourinho said: “In this game Rashford was in a different team than Lukaku, we will also try both in the same team which I think can also work.”
Rashford does not turn 20 until Halloween and looks an even greater physical presence now than when he first broke into the team.
The Special One said: “You change your body when you’re a young kid. He’s taller than when I arrived 13 months ago.
“He’s over an inch taller and has put on some muscle but without any kind of specific work because his speed is his most important quality.”
It is a mouth-watering prospect for United fans, who have not enjoyed a prolific strike partnership since Cole and Yorke hit 53 goals between them in the historic 1998-99 Treble-winning season.
Mourinho played 3-5-2 in both legs of United’s last-16 ties against Rostov in the Europa League — and it worked.
Captain Michael Carrick was delighted with how well two up front worked in United’s opening game in LA.
The 35-year-old veteran said: “Two up front worked well in both halves.
“We’ve got games coming thick and fast and this is the time you want to try things.”
Carrick is convinced Lukaku will deal with the extra scrutiny that comes with being a United player following his move from Everton in a £90million deal.
The midfielder said: “We all know exactly what he brings. Obviously he’s been brought here to score goals.
“He’ll be judged like anyone else on what he does through the season and I’m sure he’s ready for that.
“The scrutiny and everything will go up a level from what he’s used to.
“I found that coming from Tottenham. It’s a massive jump.
“But I’m sure he’s prepared and I’m sure he’ll do well.”
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