Jose Mourinho doubles down on his criticism of Manchester United fans as he backs 'untouchable' Romelu Lukaku

Mourinho has reiterated his belief that the supporters could be more appreciative of their £75m summer signing

Mark Critchley
Carrington
Monday 30 October 2017 16:17
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Jose Mourinho has doubled down on his criticism of Manchester United fans
Jose Mourinho has doubled down on his criticism of Manchester United fans

Jose Mourinho has defended his decision to criticise Manchester United’s fans for what he perceives to be a lack of support for the “untouchable” Romelu Lukaku.

The United manager claimed to be “disappointed” by the reaction to Lukaku’s performance in the 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, despite the Belgian setting up Anthony Martial’s crucial late strike.

After scoring 11 in his first 10 for United, Lukaku's has not found the net for five games and ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League visit from Benfica, Mourinho reiterated his belief that the supporters could be more appreciative of their £75m summer signing.

“The fans are the fans. The fans pay their ticket and they are free to express themselves the way they want,” he said. “My job, when I feel they deserve, is to protect my players and I think Romelu is one of the players that should be untouchable in terms of the respect from everyone.

“It is not one ball that hit the post or one save by the opposition goalkeeper that can make Romelu’s contribution below the top level. He’s playing extremely well for us and yes I have to protect my players when I feel the players deserve it.

“Romelu always deserves it because what he does for the team is fantastic and playing football for a striker is not just about scoring goals. For me, untouchable in my team and he should also be untouchable in the respect he deserves from the fans.

“I repeat, the fans are the fans, they pay their ticket, they do what they want, but as a manager, I feel the need to protect to my players when I feel they deserve it.”

Lukaku struggled to make an impact for large parts of the victory over Tottenham until his flick-on for Martial in the late stages, but Mourinho did not agree that the Belgian is the “quiet” type of centre forward that is liable to drift in and out of games.

Lukaku has now gone five games without a goal (Getty)

“I don’t think he’s quiet at all,” the United manager said. “Ask Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Dier if he’s quiet. They are some of the best central defenders in the football world.

“I think the point is scoring goals or not scoring goals, because in the end it is what people sometimes analyse but he’s not quiet at all.”

United sit top of Group A after three wins from three games and will qualify for the knockout phase on Tuesday night if they beat Benfica and CSKA Moscow fail to overcome Basel.

Mourinho’s side will also reach the last 16 if they draw and CSKA lose in Switzerland

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