Romelu Lukaku sent Inter Milan to the Europa League final on Monday evening then sent his former club Manchester United a message.
Lukaku scored a brace as Inter embarrassed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in Dusseldorf to book a place in Friday’s final against Sevilla, who eliminated United with a 2-1 semi-final win on Sunday.
Lukaku’s two finishes – his 31st and 32nd of the term – have him on target to match a record set by Ronaldo for the most goals by an Inter player in their first season at the club. Brazilian Ronaldo scored 34 in 1997/98, and striker Lukaku now has one more game to equal or surpass that number.
But the Belgium international was also full of praise for United’s frontline, despite their wastefulness against Sevilla.
“United tried their hardest, they had a good season,” Lukaku said after Inter’s win.
“Ole had a good job, [Mason] Greenwood coming through, [Anthony] Martial, [Marcus] Rashford, I’m happy for them.
“They look really good for next season, I have no doubts.”
While Inter versus Manchester United would have likely been the ideal final for the neutrals, Sevilla yet again showed their pedigree in the Europa League – a tournament they have won more times than any other club – in beating United after going behind to a Bruno Fernandes penalty.
Still, they will be underdogs against Inter, who prevented Shakhtar from managing a single shot on target in the first half before running through the Ukrainian outfit with four second-half goals.
“I think the team’s doing well, everybody’s trying to do their best,” Lukaku said. “We worked really hard in the little camp that we had. It was tough, but I think now you see the results of the hard work that we put in.
“Physically and tactically everybody is at 100 percent. I think we knew they were good in combinations – as long as we kept the centre of the defence close, I don’t think we have any problems. Our physicality is too much for them. Our patterns of play disrupted them a lot.
“I think at the minute everything is going well. There’s one game to go, records are there to be broken. We have to prepare ourselves well, recover, then prepare.”