Former Man Utd forward Dimitar Berbatov has defended Romelu Lukaku and questioned the focus on his lack of goals so far this season.
The 25-year-old has managed just six goals in 20 appearances so far this season, scoring just two goals in hist last 10 outings in the Premier League.
Given that he’s only provided two assists, the Belgian international is hardly providing much else as the sole frontman for Jose Mourinho, albeit it could be argued that his physical presence up front is a key component in United’s general play.
Nevertheless, Berbatov believes that there should be less focus on his goalscoring record as strikers need to do much more than that in modern day football.
“Why do people concentrate on this [goalscoring drought]?” Berbatov told Goals on Sunday, as seen in the video below. “Strikers are more than just goals now. How is that going to help Lukaku when there are constantly people saying how long he didn’t score a goal for.
“It is important and I am sure he had that relief ‘it is finally over’. People always talking about him not scoring is just spreading negativity.
“I like him a lot, because he is good on the ball, he is powerful, but he needs team-mates around him who understand his quality, and know how to pass him the ball. If Lukaku is not as good as others with his first touch, then give him a ball that he can handle.”
It’s a fair point from Berbatov, but ultimately it has to be argued that it’s also a flawed one. If Lukaku isn’t scoring goals, then question marks can be raised over what else he actually provides for the team.
Given the way in which United play, he’s often left isolated up front and his lack of movement and disappointing first touch to bring others into play has been heavily criticised all season.
As noted by Goal.com, ex-United midfielder Paul Ince raised the same concern over Lukaku and his lack of contribution aside from goals last week and so while Berbatov is ultimately trying to defend the Belgian and take some of the pressure off his shoulders, the statistics surely outweigh his opinion.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 9, 2018