Today in New Delhi, India
Jun 19, 2019-Wednesday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

UEFA Champions League: Mourinho defends Lukaku as Manchester United face Benfica

Romelu Lukaku has not scored for Manchester United in the last five matches. The England giants face Benfica in a Group A UEFA Champions League match on Tuesday

football Updated: Oct 31, 2017 09:59 IST
Reuters, London
UEFA Champions League,Manchester United F.C.,FC Benfica
Manchester United, top of UEFA Champions League Group A with three wins from three, host Benfica at Old Trafford on Tuesday.(Reuters)

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, the subject of criticism from the club’s fans, should be “untouchable”, his manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday.

Lukaku, who has netted 11 goals this season since joining United from Everton for 75 million pounds ($99 million), extended his barren streak to five games in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur but did set up Anthony Martial’s winner.

“I think Romelu is one of the players who should be untouchable in terms of respect from everyone,” Mourinho told a news conference ahead of the Champions League Group A game against Benfica on Tuesday.

READ | FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain on verge of UEFA Champions League last 16

“What he does for the team is fantastic and to play football for a striker is not just about scoring goals.

“I don’t think he was quiet (against Spurs) at all, ask (Toby) Alderweireld and (Jan) Vertonghen and (Eric) Dier... they are some of the best centre defenders in football.”

READ | Catalonia can qualify for Football World Cup in near future, says Albert Vinas

United, top of Group A with three wins from three, host Benfica at Old Trafford and will qualify for the last 16 if they better CSKA Moscow’s result against Basel.

“Ten points would be OK to qualify but our main aim is to finish first in the group,” Mourinho said.

READ | UEFA Champions League: Barcelona not complacent ahead of Olympiacos tie

“Nobody here thinks about any other match than Benfica. Nobody here thinks about Chelsea,” he added, referring to Sunday’s Premier League game at his former club.

Mourinho could name forwards Martial and Marcus Rashford in the starting lineup as he did in the League Cup win over Swansea City last week.

“That’s no problem,” he said. “What we cannot do is play with 12 men, but we did play them together, so we can repeat that against Benfica or we can repeat in any other match.”

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 09:19 IST