Belgium coach Roberto Martinez issues some advice to Romelu Lukaku
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has urged Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku to ignore his critics after a torrid month for the striker who started the season in sparkling form.
After firing 16 goals in his first 13 games of this season for club and country, Lukaku has failed to score since his strike to Belgium against Cyprus last month and he has become the subject of huge scrutiny during a seven-game goalless run.
United manager Jose Mourinho accused his own club’s supporters of booing Lukaku during the 1-0 win against Tottenham, while high profile media critics have highlighted the weak spots in his game with increasing consistency in recent weeks.
Now Martinez has stepped into the debate, with the coach who worked with Lukaku during his time at Everton insisting his star man will bounce back into scoring form.
“I have no worries whatsoever,” declared Martinez. “All he needs to do in his career is to carry on being himself in a club with the expectations and the demand of Manchester United.
“For me nothing has changed in Romelu’s mind. He is confident, he has an incredible belief in what he can bring.
“All I want is that he carries on seeing himself in that manner when he scores and when he doesn’t, which is going to be highlighted in a club like Manchester United."
“I’ve got a big advantage with Romelu because I’ve worked with him for four years. I know Romelu inside out. I think he just relishes the challenge. He’s been enjoying a really good start to the season and now is a period he is ready to cope with.”
Martinez also explained why he left United’s Maraoune Fellani out of his Belgian squad for World Cup warm-up matches against Mexico and Japan, even though the attacking midfielder made his return to action after a spell in the treatment room at Chelsea on Sunday.
“He needs a proper 10 days work with no game in order for him to be fully fit," added Martinez. “Medically it is the right choice to allow Marouane to get fit.
“If it had been a competitive game I think we would have called him up because maybe for the second game he could have been on the pitch. This is a period where we can afford not to risk him until he is 100 per cent.”