Manchester: Trailing against Premier League strugglers Southampton, Manchester United needed inspiration and it came in the form of the often-criticised Romelu Lukaku, who drew praise from his manager as his and United’s revival continued with a 3-2 win Saturday.
Since becoming United’s second most expensive player ever in 2017, things have not always gone smoothly for Lukaku.
As Marcus Rashford has blossomed under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the England international has taken Lukaku’s place as United’s central striker, with Belgian Lukaku pushed out wide and asked to do more defensive duties, a role he fulfilled against Liverpool last weekend.
However, with Rashford on the bench against Crystal Palace in midweek, Lukaku seized his chance, back in the central role he has excelled in throughout his career for club and country.
His double against Palace Wednesday started United on their way to yet another victory as they set a club record for consecutive away wins, before he played an even more crucial role in the comeback victory over Southampton.
“He is a quality goalscorer,” Solskjaer said. “We need to have him more in front of the goal but he has done fantastic in his work rate, attitude, he loves scoring goals, he smiles every day, he does extra shooting in training.”
“He has got the goalscorer’s quality. He has the quality right foot, left foot,” he added.
It looked like Lukaku was going to endure another frustrating afternoon as he missed two gilt-edged chances early on against Southampton, with fans venting their anger from the stands.
Nonetheless, Lukaku kept working, with both of his finishes right out of the top drawer and the late winner sparking jubilant scenes on the terraces.