Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has been defended by former-forward Dimitar Berbatov.
The Belgian has come under significant criticism in recent weeks. He’s scored just four goals this season after returning quickly following his country’s exploits in the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, where they finished third.
He’s often looked worn out and far too static. Lukaku’s poor first touch and inability to hold up the ball in recent weeks has led to the breakdown of many Man United moves.
That’s put Lukaku under a lot of pressure. Berbatov, though, who joined Man United in 2008 and went on to win the Golden Boot while playing in Red, believes Lukaku should be given some time.
“I know he’s not scored for eight games, but I don’t think the criticism of Lukaku is fair,” Berbatov told Betfair.
The Bulgarian forward has also urged Lukaku to return to basics. He thinks the 25-year-old is working too hard for the team and should focus on being in goalscoring positions more frequently, rather than dropping deep to receive the ball.
“As Jose Mourinho said, he’s working very hard for the team, but this might actually be working against the striker,” Berbatov explained.
“He wants to impress so badly that he is doing too much, and not doing the simple things like getting into the box. He is probably over complicating things; you don’t want to see him popping up at left back as he did on Tuesday.”
It’s a fair point. Lukaku was seen coming into his own half during United’s 1-0 to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night. It’s a similar problem with Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial. United’s forwards have to have more discipline in their positions. They should be allowed to roam freely, but recognise what their key role is and complete that duty before coming deep to receive the ball.