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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Jose Mourinho needs more time to decide on Romelu Lukaku's FA Cup final fitness

Lukaku has missed United's last three matches after suffering an ankle injury against Arsenal in April, and Belgium striker is in race against time to be fit for Wembley showdown with former club

Since Romelu Lukaku was sidelined, Manchester United have lacked a cutting edge and they scored only once in their last three games of the season. David Klein / Reuters
Since Romelu Lukaku was sidelined, Manchester United have lacked a cutting edge and they scored only once in their last three games of the season. David Klein / Reuters

Jose Mourinho will wait until the last minute before deciding whether Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is fit to feature in Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea.

Lukaku has missed United's last three matches after suffering an ankle injury against Arsenal in April. The Belgium striker is in a race against time to be fit for the Wembley showdown with his former club.

And United manager Mourinho, possibly hoping to keep Chelsea guessing, said on Friday that he remains uncertain if Lukaku will be available.

Mourinho will be able to call on French forward Anthony Martial, who has recovered from the knee injury he sustained in training.

"Martial is fit. Lukaku we have to wait until the last moment. I don't want to lie and say he doesn't play or vice versa," Mourinho told reporters at United's hotel.

It would be a significant blow to United's hopes of winning the FA Cup for a record-equaling 13th time if Lukaku is unable to pass his late fitness test.

Since Lukaku, 25, was sidelined, United have lacked a cutting edge and they scored only once in their last three games of the season. He energised United with a goal spree at the start of the season after arriving from Everton in a £75 million (Dh371.2m) deal.

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Richard Jolly: Mourinho's attempts at meritocracy hard to action with transfer policy

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Lukaku has scored 27 times for United in all competitions this season, making his first season at Old Trafford a success overall. But he went through a sustained barren patch - with one goal in 12 games - after opposing defences began to sit deeper to stop the Belgian hurting them with his pace.

Mourinho was also forced to defend Lukaku from criticism by United fans frustrated at what they perceived as a lack of effort from their muscular forward.

Lukaku got back on track at the start of 2018, but had scored just once in his last five appearances before picking up the injury that leaves his Cup final hopes of a knife-edge.