Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has explained how the change in his physique for the World Cup has hampered him going into the new Premier League season.
Lukaku has been largely dreadful for United this season but showed promise in his first season under Mourinho at Old Trafford, threatening to be a consistent and intelligent threat, if not a world class one.
Now he has lost his admittedly inconsistent edge in front of goal, and is noticeably lacking in pace, aggression and poise.
Lukaku said he put on weight to perform at the World Cup: “A little bit of muscle, yeah. It was at the World Cup. I just felt great and I think I played great over there, and then when I came back it is a different type of style.
“In the Premier League, I cannot play with the same amount of muscle as international football.
“That was something that when I came back I knew straight away: ‘Nah, I cannot play in this style like this.’ I had to lose muscle basically. So you just stay out of the gym, drink a lot of water, and a lot of veg and fish and it helps.”
The Belgian international also thinks he was suffering from his international exertions, saying: “After the World Cup, I think I really was a bit tired.
“But, you know, I had the same thing in 2014 after the World Cup when I came back to Everton, I was really in a slump after the World Cup. So now I think I am in a decent level again and ready to go again. I knew this. Me and the [United] medical staff, we did like a lot of tests to see what was the problem. I had a hamstring injury, which is something that never happens to me.”