Paul Ince: Forget the goals – Romelu Lukaku is doing the business at Man United

The former Reds midfielder passionately backs the big Belgian after a barrage of recent criticism…


As a striker, barren spells are unavoidable. Because it’s Romelu Lukaku, and Man United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, it’s getting highlighted even more.

On Tuesday night against Watford he was outstanding without finding the net himself. He set up two, but unfortunately you can’t go without scoring for long periods when you’re playing up front for United.

But he’s tough, so the Belgian can deal with the pressure. He’ll be disappointed that he didn’t notch one at Vicarage Road, particularly when his side has scored four goals. He may be primarily a goalscorer, but he’s a part of the team and contributed to that win.

Lukaku can look at someone like Mark Hughes and take confidence from that. It shouldn’t be all about scoring goals – performances are more important to me. United aren’t just Lukaku: the club’s about every one of its players performing like they belong in that famous red jersey.

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Jose Mourinho has more worries than Lukaku’s goal tally and the Red Devils need to keep on winning to stay in touch with Man City. That’s what was always great about the club when we played – it was never about any individual, it was about the team.

People are going to go on about Lukaku’s goalless run, like they did with Harry Kane when he didn’t net in August – but it doesn’t mean anything to me.

He’ll definitely go on to score a hatful of goals for United.

You don’t score 20+ goals in a season elsewhere without doing same at Old Trafford and Lukaku should do the same this season, I’ve no doubt about that. He knows how to finish.

Putting on my managerial hat, the only thing I’d advise is that he needs to spend more time working between the posts and the 18-yard line. You don’t want him out wide or coming too far back into the midfield to get involved in the play.

He needs to be in that space in front of the goal with balls fed into his feet, in order to use his power on the turn. He can’t let this criticism get to him – leave everyone else to talk about it because it’s just a matter of time before he scores again.

Just because Zlatan Ibrahimović is back, people are putting more pressure on Romelu, but Mourinho won’t fall for that.

Lukaku is number one, while Ibrahimović has just come back from a long term injury and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Belgian goes and gets two against Arsenal.

I don’t believe Lukaku, Mourinho or the team is worried. If he can perform without scoring goals, then great.

If he’s on his game, he’ll score eventually when the chances come. But if he’s dwelling on it and consequently not sharp in his mind, he won’t take the chances that come his way.

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