Lukaku: I deserve more respect

But former Arsenal striker Wright says the Belgian remains too easy to dispossess

Romelu Lukaku demanded more respect after scoring once and creating Jesse Lingard's winner during Manchester United's 2-1 English Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday night.

The Blues took a 32nd-minute lead through Willian before Lukaku equalised seven minutes later with his first EPL goal against a top-eight team.

He capped off an imposing display by beating a couple of Chelsea players on the wing and delivering an inch-perfect cross for substitute Lingard to head home 15 minutes from time.

The Belgian striker had been heavily criticised for his poor goal return against strong opposition, and the 24-year-old was keen to make his case at Old Trafford yesterday.

Sky Sports quoted him as saying: " I think I have got a nice record. I've scored a lot this season and I just want to keep going...

"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."

According to his manager Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea striker showed improvement as the game wore on, after looking "a little bit lost" early on.

Said the Portuguese: "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.

"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."

Lukaku had a blistering start to his United career with 11 goals in his first 10 games before going off the boil and scoring just once in his next 12 matches.

But he has now found form again with seven goals in his last 10 games to take his United tally for the season to 22 goals in 40 matches in all competitions.

While Lukaku might have his detractors among EPL pundits, former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness is not one of them.

He told Sky Sports: "I'm a fan. .. I think he's a handful. I think you can get in a race with him but you can't out-muscle him.

"Maybe out-think him occasionally, but I think he's a proper handful.

"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."

Lukaku's supporting cast and how they are set up was a point Alan Shearer also picked up on, suggesting it might explain the striker's poor goal tally against the EPL's better teams.


The former Newcastle United and England striker told the BBC: "I do have got a little bit of sympathy for him, because of the way United play and the way Mourinho wants them to play.

"With either (Ander) Herrera in there or (Nemanja) Matic, once the midfielder gets the ball, not always is their first thought, 'Can I get the ball forward?'

"But if it were to happen more often... that makes it so much easier for a centre forward to cause problems."

However, fellow ex-England striker Ian Wright was still unconvinced about Lukaku, saying he is too easily dispossessed for a big man.

He told the BBC: "People will continuously go back to the fact about whether he's scored against this one or that one - because that (his record against the big teams) is there for everyone to see.

"The only way that's going to get better is when he totally completes his game by making sure that when he gets the ball - for the big strong guy that he is - people can't get it off him and he doesn't lose it as easily as he sometimes does."

While Wright remains sceptical, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admitted that the Belgian is starting to answer his critics, such as himself.

The former England player told Sky Sports: "It's a big result for United 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 harshly.

"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.

"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."