Ahead of Manchester United league game against Brighton & Hover Albion today, United boss Jose Mourinho has claimed Romelu Lukaku is his preferred first choice striker.
The Belgian international forward joined United last summer in a 75million pound deal and had since led United attack in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Zlatan unexpectedly made his return to the Red Devils squad last weekend and came in as a late substitute in United 4-1 victory over Newcastle.
The Sweden international was initially expected to make a return to United squad in January after suffering a double knee injury last season.
Specking in pre-match briefing, Mourinho insisted Zlatan is no mean 100 percent ready to lead United attack at the moment but would rather serve as back-up to Lukaku.
“No, [he’s] not ready, step by step, minute after minute, match after match,” Mourinho said.
“It is easy to play him if the team is losing for the last 15 or 20 mins, if the team is winning his qualities are adapted.
“You don’t play him only if the team is losing or winning, he is a player who’s easy to bring to the game.
“So normally he is going to have this period of 15, 20 minutes and one day he will feel he is physically ready.
“No impact around the place is not important, impact on the pitch is always positive, he’s a good influence, it doesn’t change if he’s playing or not playing.”
“He’s one more option for us and it is impossible for Lukaku to play every match, every minute like he’s doing.
“And when I say second I say second option.”
Lukaku will therefore be expected to lead United attack in today’s match against Brighton.
The Belgian scored a goal in United last league game against Newcastle having failed to register a goal in his last seven outings before the match.