Despite recent goalscoring worries, Romelu Lukaku has done what he was brought in to do at Manchester United, according to Gary Neville.
The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also aid Lukaku, not harm his form, claims the former-Man United captain.
Lukaku started the season with an astonishing 11 goals in 10 games after his £75m summer move Everton. But a seven-game goal drought followed, and he’s only scored once since the November international break.
“I don’t think Jose Mourinho will be worried bout Romelu Lukaku’s lack of goals, but I think ultimately he’s got two big games coming up,” Neville said, writing for Sky Sports.
“He was brought in to score goals in the games which United were drawing last season. However, it is in the big matches where they now need him most. If there is a way to get at Arsenal and Manchester City then it is by really going at their defences.”
Some have claimed Lukaku is a flat-track bully, scoring goals against smaller teams and not in big games. But Neville is right, that’s what United needed. Too many times last season they drew 0-0 and 1-1 with bottom-half-of-the-table or mid-table sides when they dominated the game. Lukaku’s goals this season have prevented that.
“Lukaku gets more chances created for him [than at Everton] but he’s also under more pressure [at Man United], so misses get scrutinised, and rightly so, but these are the games where he can silence his critics.”
Neville insisted that Ibrahimovic, United’s 28-goal striker and top goalscorer last season, returning from a seven-month absence with injury should help Lukaku.
“I don’t see Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a threat to Lukaku at all but as a supplement,” he said. “The only way Ibrahimovic can become number one is if the aura of Zlatan gets to Lukaku.
“Zlatan is confident but Lukaku is number one, the fans and the manager believe in him and if he does have any demons then he needs to clear them from his mind.”