Jose Mourinho has suggested that Manchester United fans wind their neck in when it comes to criticism of Romelu Lukaku from those at the pitch. It’s a fair request, given Lukaku has done about as well as expected with no service, scored freely when give the chance, and set up Anthony Martial for the winner on Saturday afternoon. United play [look up and insert team here] tonight, which is a chance to put things to the test.
Gary Neville believes that United fans will have to get used to Mourinho’s defensive style as manager. He focuses on risk-averse football as his method to achieve success, and that is what United will play to for the foreseeable future. We probably shouldn’t forget all the goals that have already come this season, too, and that the defensive nature of the team has been emphasised as Paul Pogba is absent.
Mourinho has hinted he might pair Marcus Rashford with Martial for the game against Benfica tonight. They swapped with one another against Spurs, but have the technique and pace to team up well. The game tonight should be easy enough, and some early goals would give the chance to take a rest before the Chelsea game at the weekend.
There’s a story in The Independent that United and Mourinho have not yet proved their doubters wrong, and it’s hard to argue. Only at the end of the season will we know one way or another whether meaningful, sustained progress has been made for a return to challenging for the title. For now, United are on the cusp of being threatening again.
And in The Guardian, as Marcus Rashford turns 20, there’s a pleasant enough blog on how he developed from the youth team and into the player that he is today. He does not seem like an absolute weapon.