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Mourinho claims Lukaku lacked drive

ESPN staff
July 31, 2014
Sale of Lukaku makes little sense

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claims Romelu Lukaku "was not highly motivated" after selling the striker to Everton for £28 million.

Lukaku, 21, left for Goodison Park on Wednesday, where he spent last season on loan, smashing the club's previous record transfer fee in the process.

The Belgium international joined Chelsea from Anderlecht for £18m three years ago but spent just one season at the club - in which he started just one league match and did not score a goal - before being loaned out firstly to West Bromwich Albion and then Everton.

And Mourinho claimed the striker's inability to compete with Fernando Torres and summer signing Diego Costa for a starting place led to his Chelsea departure.

"Romelu was always very clear with us that in his mentality and his approach he was not highly motivated to come to a competitive situation at Chelsea," Mourinho said after his side's 3-1 win in a pre-season friendly at Vitesse Arnhem on Wednesday.

"He wanted to play for Chelsea but clearly as the first choice striker which in club of our dimension is very difficult to promise to a player that status. That reduced, immediately, his desire to come to us.

"After that Everton came with an important offer and as I always say, because it's the reality of our club and we want to do things well and be inside the Financial Fair Play rules (FFP), it's always in the thoughts of the board, when you have the chance to make some movement that creates positive impact on FFP we always analyse these situations."

Lukaku was successful whenever he was loaned out by Chelsea, scoring 17 goals in 35 Premier League appearances for West Brom in the 2012-13 season and another 15 for Everton last term.

But his relationship with Mourinho has always appeared spiky and, after similar claims about a stony silence during last season, he said he had left the club without speaking to their manager.

"I spoke with my agent and then from that moment on I left it up to him as I was on holiday," Lukaku said about the move to Everton. "I made my decision and then didn't speak too much about it."

Asked whether he had spoken to Mourinho at all immediately before his departure he added: "No - I think he was busy with the game [against Vitesse Arnhem]. Chelsea is a big club and sometimes it is difficult for young players to come through. I want to have a good career and I didn't want to spend 10 years on the bench, I wanted to make the best out of every year.

"This [Everton] is a club with a lot of ambition and it's the right place to be. You don't have to have regrets in football. Choices have to be made. Roberto Martinez will be one of the top managers in the world and for me to work under him now is the best thing that could happen for me."

Despite their difficult relationship, Mourinho diluted his parting shot. He said: "The important thing is that he's happy and things work well for him, he's a good kid and has his way of thinking and organising his career project. All I can do is wish him well. He deserves luck and to be happy."

Lukaku scored 15 Premier League goals while on loan at Everton last season © AP
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