Saturday 18 August 2018

Rio Ferdinand thinks that a returning star is to blame for Romelu Lukaku's scoring slump

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku

Rio Ferdinand believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to Manchester United is behind Romelu Lukaku's out of sorts form in front of goal.

The Belgian started the season in fine fettle scoring 11 goals in his first 10 games for his new club following his £75m move from Everton in the summer but has subsequently only found the net once in his last 11 outings.

Lukaku once again drew a blank as United ran out 4-2 winners at Watford on Tuesday night and Ferdinand is under the impression that the newly fit Ibrahimovic's presence is weighing heavily on the No 9's shoulders.

"He'll come out of this," Ferdinand said on BT Sport. "I think that maybe the bigger problem for him is Zlatan Ibrahimovic being there. Mentally, having a big striker behind you who wants to play, that's a pressure from within, and sometimes people find that hard to deal with."

Lukaku provided a brilliant assist for Anthony Martial for his side’s third at Vicarage Road, but squandered two chances of his own, as he played in blacked-out boots due to his deal with his previous sponsors running out. Manager Jose Mourinho picked up on that when asked about the striker’s dip in scoring form to make light of it, as he generally praised Lukaku’s contribution.

“He needs a big contract with boots,” the United boss said. “At this moment he doesn't have a contract with any brand. That is why he is playing with the black boots. He needs a brand to give him the right boots and to pay the right money, so he goes back to goals.

“Jokes apart, he works amazingly well for the team. I would never blame a player like him for that easy chance he missed. Never. With me he knows that he doesn't have that pressure. He is an amazing player and an amazing professional. Great ambition, great colleague. I couldn't be happy with him.

“He finished the deal. Now he is waiting for the right offer and is playing in black boots.”

Independent News Service

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