Jamie Carragher called it a “big game” in terms of his career, while Jose Mourinho hailed him as “fantastic” – we assess the verdict on Romelu Lukaku after he starred in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea.
After an inconsistent start to his Manchester United career, the Belgium international scored his first goal against a top-eight club this season with United’s equaliser at Old Trafford after Willian had fired the dominant champions ahead.
Former Chelsea striker Lukaku then crossed for substitute Jesse Lingard to head in the winner for the hosts 15 minutes from time, to cap a man-of-the-match performance as United moved back into second place in the Premier League.
The pundits and Lukaku’s manager later gave their views on the striker’s showing and the response was overwhelmingly positive…..
“It’s a big result for Man Utd today, but it feels like an even bigger game for Lukaku, coming against a former club and having been questioned all season – and rightly so, sometimes a little bit harsh.
“Will that criticism ever go away? He’ll have to consistently score in big games. It’s not easy, and I’m not saying he would have to score every time.
“Psychologically you could see how unhappy he was when Geoff was pushing him with questions about goals against the top six.
“But what he also does now, for the winning goal, I’ve always felt he’s just a goalscorer, there isn’t too much more to his play, he’s not great at hold-up at times and he doesn’t work the channels, but this just answers me and plenty of his critics – there is more to his game.”
“I’m a fan. Forty games now, 22 goals, it’s the hardest place to play football and the hardest position on the pitch – that and the goalkeeper. It’s about how many games you play and how many goals you score.
“He does a great job. He’s not playing in a team that’s filled with cute and clever passers of the ball. A lot of them are crumbs he’s feeding on. I think he’s doing – not a great job – but a very good job in the team he’s playing in.
“I think he’s a handful. I think you can get in a race with him but you can’t outmuscle him. Maybe out-think him occasionally, but I think he’s a proper handful.”
“He played fantastically well. He had the same start as the team. The team didn’t start well or confident, the same was for him. He was a little bit lost.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says his side showed great spirit and organisation to beat a fantastic Chelsea side.
“But then he went with the team and he finished the game with the image of the team which gave everything to win an important match for us.”