Gary Neville believes Romelu Lukaku needs to be backed by supporters and Jose Mourinho amid a miserable goal drought at Manchester United.
The Belgian has not scored since Watford eight games ago and received widespread derision for his ineffective performance against Juventus.
He has not scored at home since a 2-0 win over Swansea in March – a total of ten games – and many, as a result, want him to be dropped.
But Neville, speaking after the game, believes he needs the trust of supporters and his manager to get back to his best.
“Romelu Lukaku has now gone eight games without a goal and his performance against Juventus was questioned afterwards,” he said.
“But if you want to know why he did not do too much on Tuesday, you have to acknowledge the calibre of the centre-backs he was playing against, and also ask if he got the correct service – and no, he did not. I cannot remember a clear chance coming his way versus Juventus, or against Chelsea at the weekend either.
“Of course he has to do more for himself, because in United’s situation they needed their forwards to win them the game in the same way Ronaldo and Dybala did for Juve. But you could say the same about Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, who also did very little.
“I do think Lukaku’s levels have dipped a little bit, especially when you compare him to the player we saw at the World Cup in Russia.
“But I don’t see any other options for United up front to lead the line like he does. He is a player I think they have to persevere with and hope comes back into form.”
Lukaku is, of course, a world class goalscorer, as his records show. But he is not a player who should be guaranteed to play every minute of every game. Perhaps no player should do that.
To see Lukaku leading the line each game, without fail, ultimately diminishes his ability to churn out regular goalscoring performances, and instead creates something of a ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling. For his good as well as the team’s, he should be afforded some rest.