Romelu Lukaku put in a dominant display for Manchester United in their 2-1 win against his former club Chelsea on Sunday.
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He received plenty of praise for his goal and assist in the comeback win but the 24-year-old believes he deserves more respect than he’s been getting.
Much has been made about Lukaku scoring for the first time this season against one of the “big six” clubs in the Premier League and it is true that even during his time at Everton he struggled to take chances, albeit limited ones, against the big boys.
Speaking at Old Trafford after the victory which sent United back to second in the Premier League table, Lukaku wants a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
“I just need to keep working hard,” Lukaku said. “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 and show the people what I can do on the pitch.”
Lukaku certainly did that on Sunday as he showed Chelsea what they were missing by first letting him leave for Everton in 2015 and then losing out on his signature in the summer. He has scored at least 20 goals in each of his last four seasons in England, with 16 and 17 his tallies in the two seasons before that.
The Belgian international has now scored 22 goals in his debut season at United and the burden of wearing the No.9 jersey for the Red Devils seems to have been lifted in recent weeks. From October to December he scored just once in nine PL games but since 2018 has arrived Lukaku has looked refreshed and ready to lead the line.
More so Lukaku’s overall contribution to United’s displays have been more impressive than his goalscoring exploits. His clever maneuvering and cross to set up the winner for Jesse Lingard on Sunday was sublime and his ability to drop deeper and spray useful balls out wide, plus launch counters that he is in the box to finish off himself, cannot be underestimated.
Does he deserve more respect? Time will tell. But being the star center forward for United with a $100 million price tag on your back certainly comes with extra scrutiny and Lukaku is probably trying to remind everyone what he’s had to overcome so far to get back among the goals after plenty of criticism.