Nemanja Matic hails the mental strength of Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku

by Harry Robinson

Nemanja Matic has hailed his Manchester United teammate Romelu Lukaku’s performances this season.

The Belgian netted his 20th and 21st goals of the season in a 2-0 victory for Man United against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup Fifth Round, which sees them through to face Brighton & Hove Albion in the next round.

Lukaku has received significant criticism this season but is one of the top goalscorers in the Premier League and has won United countless number of points as well as consolidating the Reds’ lead in multiple games, too. Last season, Jose Mourinho’s side would have surrendered their leads against small teams. This campaign, Lukaku’s goals have prevented that.

“Romelu is a great striker,” Matic told Sky Sports ahead of United’s clash against Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday.

Both he and Lukaku will be facing their former club, though for Matic the memories are fresher having joined straight from the Blues last summer.

“For a young player, it’s not an easy situation because everyone expects you to score in every game. It is not easy to deal with that expectation but as he’s shown already he’s doing well,” Matic said of Lukaku.

“Mentally he’s strong and I’m sure he will continue to score goals. He’s still young and can improve more and I’m sure he will do big things for Manchester United.”

Lukaku has improved since he joined United. His early season form was sensational, with 11 goals in his 10 games. His confidence and performances dipped slightly in October and November but ever since a woeful display against Manchester City in a 2-1 defeat in the derby, Lukaku’s hold-up play has improved steadily.

Now the Belgian can be relied upon to latch onto long balls up to him, but there is still some way to go before United fans can have full confidence in the Belgian’s finishing and all-round play.

He’s yet to score against top six opposition, and Sunday would bet the perfect time to do so.

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