Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has defended his action of taking a penalty away from Romelu Lukaku, saying, “I don’t see the drama.”
Lukaku was denied his chance to end his 6 game goalless drought for Manchester United by Mourinho, who was more w
After substitute Marcus Rashford was brought down in the box, Lukaku grabbed the ball to take the penalty himself. After going six games without a goal, he was looking to get back on the right track.
However, Mourinho told him to pass the ball to Daley Blind.
“The penalty-taker for this match was Martial, he was not even on the pitch for the second one. Romelu wants to take, he has the personality and character to take the responsibility.”
Mourinho then added: “In the first half, the decision was bad. In the second half, I made another decision.”
Manchester United would finish the game 2-0 victors over Benefica. With an own goal from 18-year old goalkeeper Svilar and Blind’s penalty all the difference.
Lukaku has come back to Earth after his wonderful start to life in Manchester, bagging 10 goals in his first 11 appearances. This six goal drought is the longest he’s faced in over a year.
The move by Mourinho was quite the surprise. Lukaku is one of the best finishers in the Premier League — let alone his team — and surely a penalty could have done him more good than Daley Blind.
But Mourinho said his decision was based upon recent training.
“My decision was based on training in the past couple of days.”
Strikers are curious creatures. They rely on momentum, and when they are facing a goal drought they can start to force the issue. Lukaku could have put his mind to rest with that penalty.
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But Mourinho chose Blind. The seldom-used left-back has talent from set pieces, but the penalty still should have been awarded to our big man up front.
Lukaku has struggled to find his goalscoring boots since teammate Paul Pogba has been out injured. He didn’t score for United in all of October, and hasn’t found the net since Sept. 30.
Paul Scholes believes the Belgian’s struggles are down to the team missing Paul Pogba. He told BT Sport, “Pogba will make a difference and be more positive. Lukaku is having to do a lot for himself but Pogba will make the difference. They are missing a player to knit the team together.”
Pogba’s absence has definitely had a negative impact on Lukaku, but even with the goal drought he’s getting involved. Lukaku has recorded two assists in United’s last two League games — none bigger than his flick-on header to set up Martial’s winner against Spurs.
In reality it is the results that matter. A win is a win, and United are now four wins from four matches in the Champions League this season. They need just one point to qualify for the knockout stages, and a win will see them go through as group leaders.
This drama over the penalty is most-likely getting blown out of the water when the focus should be on the team’s success. And Mourinho would have the final say on it, adding: “The players respected my decision and that was it, end of story.”