Jose Mourinho was quick to single out Romelu Lukaku for praise following Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
The Belgian had to feed off scraps in the first half as the attacking trio of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial struggled to have an influence but still managed to produce some impressive hold up play.
And he played a vital role for Man United’s winning goal, bursting away from a series of claret shirts before sending a pin-point, arching ball for Martial to score in the 54th minute.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho was quick to highlight once again that Lukaku provides much more than just goalscoring potency.
“That’s (the assist) amazing from Lukaku but sometimes people look at strikers and just analyse goals and that’s not fair because he is a team player and the quality, vision, pass today for the goal was fantastic,” he said.
“We know that when we can put him (Anthony Martial) in the 1 v 1 with a full back its difficult for the full back because he has so many attributes.
“One more reason to happy with Romelu because he knew if he put Anthony in that position it would be difficult for the right back.”
The 54-year-old has emphasised to supporters since day one of Lukaku’s arrival that his performances shouldn’t be measured by goals alone, and his display against Sean Dyche’s men was a testament to that very notion.
He was an ebullient customer on the ball, bustling through challenges and finding teammates all game as others failed to convince going forward. His sheer speed and strength means he virtually doubles up as a winger when he decides to pull out wide.
Big players produce in big moments. And Lukaku, with that one piece of precision, rose above the rest during a physical encounter to provide exactly that.