MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Romelu Lukaku has been struggling to find his best form, so when will Jose Mourinho pull his young striker from the spotlight?
Lukaku started the season in blistering form, but have since tempered down and has scored just two goals in his past 14 games in all competitions.
Besides his unlucky double errors for the Manchester City goals in the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday, the forward also missed a great opportunity for an equaliser late in the game and the pressure on the Belgian is increasingly mounting.
Nevertheless, Mourinho continues to show belief in his big-money summer signing, but the manager might need to take him out of the burning flames very soon if he continues to struggle in front of the goal.
15 – Romelu Lukaku has scored 15 goals in 62 Premier League appearances against the “big six” clubs, averaging a goal every 313 minutes. Against the other clubs, he’s scored every 139 mins (78 goals in 140 games). Struggle. pic.twitter.com/mJOHhlnDF2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2017
The 24-year-old made a £75million switch from Everton to Manchester United in the summer transfer window.
“You look at him…. and he struggled,” Manchester United former captain and full-back Gary Neville told Sky Sports after the Manchester derby on Sunday.
“I’m not just talking about struggling in terms of missing a chance, he struggled at being in the game and being confident in the game.
“He’s got to get over that quickly as he’s Manchester United’s centre-forward.”
The return to fitness of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has evidently not help Lukaku either, but Neville thinks the former Everton frontman, though still young, must start to assert himself.
“He’s a young lad,” Neville agreed, “but he needs to get to the point where he believes he should be out there — it’s like he doesn’t believe it in this period.”
It also doesn’t help that midfield general Paul Pobga has spent so much time off the pitch through injury during Lukaku’s goal drought. He is also now serving a suspension.
When the Frenchman is on the field, the entire Manchester United team elevates, but especially the production from Lukaku.
When the Red Devils take on Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday, many would like to see Lukaku get a break and start on the bench, but knowing Mourinho, it seems highly unlikely.