Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku believes he deserves “more respect” for his goalscoring record.
Lukaku joined from Everton for an initial £75m fee in the summer window but has faced criticism since arriving at Old Trafford from leading pundits, including former United defender Gary Neville, for his poor record against the bigger teams in the Premier League.
However, the Belgium international answered his critics with a well-taken goal, his first against a top-six side this season, and a man-of-the-match performance as United beat Chelsea 2-1 on Sunday.
“I just need to keep working hard,” said the 24-year-old, who has now scored 98 goals in the Premier League. “I think I have got a nice record. I’ve scored a lot this season and I just want to keep going.
“I know that I can improve, and I want to improve and really work hard. I want to win trophies. We are still in the fight in two competitions. It’s not going to be easy but it’s a nice challenge.”
When asked if he believes people forget how young he is, the 24-year-old said: “Yeah, because I’ve been in the game for so long.
“I started playing when I was 16. Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me. I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight, so I think I’ve proved myself.
“You expect a bit more respect but it’s the situation we’re in. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.”
Highlights: Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea
Lukaku says he is more interested in helping the team to silverware this season than collecting individual accolades.
“As long as I win, and I lead my team to winning that’s when I will be really satisfied,” he said.
“As a football player, I don’t play for the individual. I think a lot of big players that we recognise today in the game are players who have won something, and I want to be part of them.
“The road is still far ahead, but I’m ambitious and I’ll work every day for my team to win – I’m not thinking about myself.”
The Belgian insists he does not regret his decision to join United instead of his former club Chelsea during the summer transfer window.
“No, no, no,” he said. “When I make a choice it’s with my head and my heart. I made the right choice for me.
“As you can see, I’m in a good situation. I’m with a manager and players who push me every day. The challenge is there to win and it’s something that I wanted.”