Romelu Lukaku is currently suffering from a dry spell with Manchester United. After starting his season in a stormy fashion, there was a point where he had netted seven goals in seven games in the Premier League, and his total tally was eleven in all competitions. Despite that, he has now gone six games without scoring a goal.
However, he could have ended his drought in United’s previous game against Benfica in the Champions League, when a penalty was awarded to the Red Devils when they were 1-0 up. However, Jose Mourinho instead ordered Daley Blind to take the spot-kick, and after the game, he revealed why.
Mourinho stated: “I’m the manager and I make the decisions. He missed the last penalty and I want him to take a penalty when there is no pressure, there is no responsibility and there is no need of scoring the goal.
“But we are playing Champions League, we need points. Even now with 12 points, we aren’t qualified. It is an important moment of the game – with 10, 12 minutes to go, 1-0 – I want a player free of the pressure of having missed the last one.”
In hindsight, it did appear that there was a pressure despite the slender lead, with the lads of Benfica constantly trying to salvage a much-needed point in what has been an awful European campaign.
In fact, with Martial gone, it seemed that precisely that was what sat on the mind of Lukaku. But the ball was taken away by Herrera, and it was eventually the Dutch defender that slotted the winner, as instructed by the Portuguese manager.
Mourinho continued his defense of Lukaku despite the decision, though – something he did even in the build-up to the fixture.
“I’m really happy with his personality and that he takes responsibility but I’m here to protect players and the team. At that moment, I protected him. I needed to protect him because he missed the last time. He will take a penalty again when the game is over, and the game was not over,” Jose added.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.