Pitchforks down, torches out, and back in line with you, Manchester United fans. Ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League group game against Benfica, Jose Mourinho has spoken out in defence of Romelu Lukaku.
I think Romelu is one of the players who should be untouchable in terms of respect from everyone. What he does for the team is fantastic and to play football for a striker is not just about scoring goals. For me, he is untouchable in my team and I think he should be untouchable in the support and the respect he deserves from the fans.
Lukaku, as if you needed reminding, is under scrutiny after failing to score in not one, not two, not three, not four, but five consecutive games of football. This leaves him on a mere 16 for club and country this season. Risible, we’re sure you agree. And we can only thank Mourinho for bravely interposing himself between his player and United’s mutinous hordes.
At times like this, tBB sometimes wonders how footballers of yesteryear feel about today. Garry Birtles, for example. Sure, he didn’t make the ridiculous money that today’s Manchester United players make, but his 28-game wait came without the frothing scrutiny of social media and a 24/7 news cycle. Bullet well and truly dodged, Garry.
Any further criticism of Lukaku on these pages, or anywhere else, and we’ll send Duncan Castles round to have a word. You have been warned, United fans. You are on notice.
Other notes from the press conference
— no new injuries; no healed old injuries; likely no change from the weekend’s squad;
— Mourinho does think Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford can play together, as they did against Swansea, but isn’t allowed to play 12 players;
— Mourinho wants to win, in decreasing order of importance: the group; the game; the hearts and mind of all those who follow football.