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Ronald Koeman praises professional Romelu Lukaku after Everton rout Hull

Romelu Lukaku: Ronald Koeman says Everton will do their best to hold on to Chelsea and United target

"You need to have hope in life.

Everybody loves Rom", Koeman said of Lukaku, who has just over two years remaining on his current deal.

Lukaku is stalling on signing a new deal at Everton as he wants to keep his options open this summer, sources confirmed to ESPN FC earlier this week.

The Toffees had been confident the Belgium global would sign a new five-year deal thought to be worth around £140,000 a week.

Everton had to wait until the 78th minute for Enner Valencia to double their lead shortly after Hull had midfielder Tom Huddlestone sent off. Lukaku added some late gloss.

However, for almost 80 minutes an unconvincing performance against relegation strugglers appeared to be adding weight to the striker's argument.

The Belgian became the first Everton player since Gary Lineker - in the 1985-86 season - to net 20 league goals in a season when he slotted home the third goal on Saturday, and the first to do so in the Premier League era. "We killed the game perfectly", the Dutchman said.

Earlier in the week the Belgium worldwide told the club he would not be signing a new £140,000-a-week contract that would make him the best-paid player in their history as he questioned whether they had the ability to reach the Champions League.

And Koeman, who is in his first year at the Goodison helm, believes his team can improve upon this season's encouraging results.

Everton now reside in seventh in the Premier League standings, meaning Europa League football is still very much available for the club.

Their first game back after the global break is away to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Saturday, 1 April (12:30 BST).