MANCHESTER, England — Jose Mourinho has informed Manchester United followers that whereas they’re free to specific their disappointment with sure gamers, Romelu Lukaku ought to be “untouchable.”
Mourinho mentioned he was “upset” with some supporters’ response to Lukaku in the course of the win over Tottenham on Saturday after the Belgium worldwide went a fifth sport with out scoring.
The £75 million striker, who has scored 11 targets in 15 video games since arriving from Everton, is ready to start out towards Benfica at Outdated Trafford on Tuesday evening and the United supervisor insisted forward of the tie that the 24-year-old ought to be immune from any criticism.
He informed a information convention on Monday: “The followers are the followers and I additionally mentioned that the followers pay for his or her tickets and are free to specific themselves and say they wish to specific, however my job is once I really feel they deserve is to guard my gamers.
“I feel Romelu is without doubt one of the gamers that ought to be untouchable by way of the respect of everybody.
“It is not one aim or the ball goes towards the publish or save by the opposition keeper that may make Romelu’s contribution under the highest stage.
“He’s taking part in extraordinarily nicely for us and sure, I’ve to guard my gamers once I really feel they deserve it and Romelu all the time deserves it as a result of what he does for the group is implausible.
“Enjoying soccer for a striker is not nearly scoring targets. So for me [he is] untouchable in my group and I feel he ought to be untouchable in help from the followers.
“However followers are followers, they pay the ticket and do what they need. As a supervisor I really feel responsibility to guard my gamers once I really feel they deserve it.”
United can qualify for the knockout levels of the Champions League this week in the event that they higher CSKA Moscow’s consequence towards Basel.
Mourinho shouldn’t be anticipating to have Paul Pogba or Marouane Fellaini out there towards Benfica.
And he added that he’ll resist the temptation to relaxation gamers forward of a visit to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Sunday.
He mentioned: “The very best situation is that we now have the identical gamers as we had the final weekend.
“Our goal tomorrow is to qualify. Ten factors could be OK to qualify however our most important goal is to complete first within the group.
“A draw shouldn’t be unhealthy however Benfica will give us a tough match. They’ve their very own ambition and delight and can attempt to win however we wish to get to final 16 as first in group.
“No person right here thinks about one other match than Benfica. No person right here thinks about Chelsea. So it is simply Benfica, the Champions League and solely the Champions League.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Observe him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.