5 reasons that suggest everyone is being too harsh on Romelu Lukaku
There has been no shortage of criticism for Romelu Lukaku following his move to Manchester United, but should we cut him some slack?
In Jose Mourinho's first season at the club, he guided Manchester United to the Europa League trophy, won the League Cup and the Community Shield as well. A player that was a vital cog in their successes was none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was signed on a free transfer from PSG.
He scored a remarkable 28 goals in his first campaign and everything was going well until a European night at Old Trafford when United hosted Anderlecht.
He landed awkwardly after jumping for an airball and snapped his cruciate ligament in the process. A long-term injury that would eventually keep him on the sidelines for at least nine months. Mourinho needed a striker, someone who can fill the void left by the Swede.
With Madrid playing hardball over Morata, Jose turned his attention to Romelu Lukaku who was seemingly headed to Chelsea. Some eyebrows were raised when Mourinho and Manchester United decided to splash out £75 million in the summer of 2017 to sign Lukaku from Everton.
Many were worried if he had enough quality to lead an attack on his own. A lack of experience in the Champions League was another talking point. And although the striker has fared well, there still remain question marks about his calibre.
Here are five reasons why maybe it is time we stopped doubting the Belgian.
#5 Contrasting approach to the game
Looking at how Manchester United sets up on most match days, a pattern is apparent; Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez or Juan Mata are usually employed on the wings and all three of them like to cut inside and play at close quarters.
The only natural width arises from the wings where Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are usually deployed and crossing is seen only as a Plan B when the middle of the park becomes too congested. When they eventually put in a decent cross (which is a rarity), Lukaku finds himself as the only target and tightly surrounded by defenders inside the box.
This is in stark contrast to the way Everton plays, where Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, being excellent crossers and set-piece specialists, whip in cross after cross and Lukaku had developed a great understanding with them.
If Mourinho can find a system to get the squad's creative personnel closer to Lukaku or identify players who can put in quality crosses consistently, it would do him a world of good.