Lukaku: Everton squad asked to play more direct

Romelu Lukaku has revealed the Everton squad asked manager Roberto Martinez to allow them to vary the style of football more often, the Guardian has reported.

The request was made before Tuesday’s FA Cup tie against West Ham, in which Lukaku scored a late equaliser to cancel out James Collins’ opener and send the game to a replay, to be held at the Hammers’ Upton Park home next week.

Lukaku said the squad as a whole wanted to move the ball from back to front much quicker and took it to Martinez, who was open to the suggestion, despite favouring a slower, possession-based approach. “The players were asking about going more direct. I asked them, and we all said to the manager: ‘Can we play a bit more direct sometimes?’” the Belgium international confirmed.

“We have a style of play where we keep the ball a lot, but knew we needed to take more responsibility, play to my strengths more, and they did it perfectly,” he added. “We mixed up how we played a bit more, at times we were a bit more direct. For me that makes it easier, because when I am one v one, running on a defender, that gives me a better chance.”

The 21-year-old returned to the starting XI against West Ham, having been dropped in the previous two games after a run of appearances without a goal. “After two games on the bench I knew it was time to react,” he admitted. “I wanted to show the manager how he can count on me.

“I wanted to show it was just a temporary thing, and now I am ready to move on and push myself to the limit. I want to win silverware, I want to end up as high as we can in the league and we have five months to do that. I just want to play my best football now.”

Lukaku originally moved to Everton on loan from Chelsea prior to the 2013-14 season, scoring 16 goals in 33 games, and made the arrangement permanent at the end of the campaign. He has this season claimed nine goals in 27 appearances.

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