Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

English Premiership

Mourinho defends lack of Lukaku charity

Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku runs past Benfica’s Jardel during their UEFA Champions League Group A second leg match, at Old Trafford in Manchester, on October 31, 2017 © AFP / Oli SCARFF

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Nov 1 – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho defended his decision not to allow misfiring striker Romelu Lukaku to take a penalty during his side’s 2-0 Champions League win over Benfica.

Lukaku made a blistering start to his United career after joining from Everton, scoring 11 goals in his first 10 games, but has now gone six matches without finding the net.

Mourinho made a point of defending Lukaku after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, but when United won a second-half penalty against Benfica on Tuesday, he instructed Daley Blind to take it.

“I don’t understand why everyone asks me the same (question),” Mourinho said when asked about his decision in his post-match press conference at Old Trafford.

“I’m paid to take decisions, good or bad. In the first half, the decision was bad because the player I chose to take the penalty (Anthony Martial) missed.

Benfica’s goalkeeper Mile Svilar (L) clears the ball under pressure from Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard during their UEFA Champions League Group A second leg match, at Old Trafford in Manchester, on October 31, 2017 © AFP / Oli SCARFF

“In the second half I made another decision and I don’t see the drama. The penalty taker for this match was Martial. He took in the first half and missed.

“He was not even on the pitch when the second one was (awarded). And then I have to make a decision. Romelu wants to take and had the personality to take the responsibility. (Ander) Herrera the same.

“But my decision, based on what we did in training in the past couple of days, was Blind. The players respected my decision. That’s it, end of story.”

Martial’s 15th-minute penalty was turned behind by Benfica goalkeeper Mile Svilar after Douglas had been penalised for handball.

But Svilar, who had carried Marcus Rashford’s free-kick into his own net to gift United victory in the reverse fixture, proved Benfica’s fall guy again when Nemanja Matic’s strike hit the post and bounced into the net off his arm.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Blind settled matters in the 78th minute by drilling a penalty down the middle of the goal following a foul on Rashford by Andreas Samaris.

Mourinho had reacted to Saturday’s win over Tottenham by performing a shushing gesture and after Blind scored he clacked his fingers together to apparently signify chatter.

Asked to explain the gesture, he replied: “I don’t remember.”

– Hapless Svilar –

Manchester United’s Daley Blind scores a goal from the penalty spot during their UEFA Champions League Group A second leg match against Benfica, at Old Trafford in Manchester, on October 31, 2017 © AFP / Oli SCARFF

United’s fourth successive Group A victory left them six points clear, but CSKA Moscow’s 2-1 win at Basel means Mourinho’s men require one point from their last two fixtures to rubberstamp a last 16 berth.

Mourinho played down the importance of finishing top of the group, which theoretically guarantees a kinder draw in the next round.

Yet with United having graced the tournament only once in the previous three seasons, he would like to see his team win all six of their group matches.

“Sometimes a team finishes first and gets an extremely difficult draw,” he said.

“Other times you finish second and you are so lucky to get some team that nobody expected to finish first.

“We want to win the maximum possible points. I also know we haven’t qualified yet. We are going to try to win the next two matches and finish with 18 points.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The last time Manchester United was in the Champions League (in 2015-16), they finished third and went out. So the year we return, it would be nice to do 18 points.”

Benfica head coach Rui Vitoria defended 18-year-old Svilar after his second hapless moment against United in as many weeks.

“Svilar is still a junior. He’s still 18 years old,” said Vitoria.

“He did a lot. In today’s match he showed what he’s capable of. We know what Svilar is capable of and he played well.”

Vitoria was phlegmatic about his team’s chances of keeping their European season alive after a result that left the Portuguese champions six points adrift at the foot of the group.

“There are still two games to play,” he said. “With six points, you can go to the Europa League, stay in the Champions League or get nothing.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


More on Capital Sports


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...


NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon champion has been slapped with a four-year ban by the World Athletics Disciplinary...

© 2022 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved