Manchester United’s next manager must get more from Romelu Lukaku

first_imgBelgium Topics Share on WhatsApp Guardian Sport Network Facebook Infographic:WhoScored Infographic:WhoScored Infographic:WhoScored Share via Email Twitter David Squires on … José Mourinho’s United exit and Southampton’s spirit It’s clear that a number of Manchester United’s big names have been in need of a fresh start for some time now, and their big No 9 is certainly one of them. The club have confirmed that a caretaker will take the reins until the end of the season, with that man tasked with sparking new life into a group of players in desperate need of resuscitation. It’s up to Lukaku and his teammates to prove that Mourinho’s defensive tactics were key to so many players losing their form so dramatically.Premier League team of the week Bundesliga team of the week Share on Pinterest Romelu Lukaku La Liga team of the week After Sunday’s one-sided affair, Manchester United have now conceded more shots (236) than they have attempted (213), while their goal difference is back to nought. For a side of their stature, 17 games into a season, that is quite remarkable. For comparison, their goal difference under David Moyes was +21.United’s defence – the fifth worst in the league – must take a lot of responsibility for their struggles but Lukaku’s input, or lack thereof, at the opposite end is another crucial factor. It’s not that his finishing has been particularly poor. Lukaku has converted more than 20% of his chances in the league, but his movement, or at least the intelligence of it, has been lacking.He isn’t picking up goalscoring positions and is partly to blame for the lack of service he is receiving. Lukaku attempted more shots per 90 minutes at both West Brom and Everton (4.4 and 3.3 respectively) than he has during his spell at United (2.5). There is clearly something very wrong.One need only look at his international record to see that Lukaku is still a strong finisher, but if you don’t shoot you don’t score. Sunday was just the latest example of that. In fact, it was the fifth game since the start of October that he failed to muster a single shot. In fact, in recent months Lukaku has taken fewer shots than the man tasked with keeping him quiet on Sunday. Virgil van Dijk has taken 14 shots in the league since in the start of October; Lukaku has taken just 10. Cardiff defender Sean Morrison has had 10 more touches in the opposition box than Lukaku (34) in the same time.Strikers can sometimes get away with a lack of goal threat if they are linking up well with their teammates but Lukaku is also falling well short of expectations in that regard. For some of the world’s very best finishers, their first touch is often a shot and in many cases a goal. In Lukaku’s case at present it’s quite often a useful pass, but unfortunately the opposition are tending to be the recipient. Premier Leaguecenter_img Share on Twitter Manchester United José Mourinho Read more Infographic:WhoScored • Follow WhoScored on Twitter and Facebook• Follow Martin Laurence on Twitter Mourinho’s men mustered just six shots in the entire game and not one between the start of the second half and Liverpool scoring their third goal. Roberto Firmino had 50% more efforts at goal (nine) than the visitors’ 13 outfielders combined, while United striker Romelu Lukaku failed to have a single shot.It wasn’t the first time Lukaku had been kept quiet in recent months. The Belgian hasn’t made much noise all season. The line-up and tactics deployed by Mourinho at the weekend didn’t help Lukaku, but the case remains that the club’s first-choice forward did very little to relieve any pressure on a panicked defence and a failing manager. Zidane? Pochettino? Who will be Manchester United’s new manager? It’s official. José Mourinho is no longer the manager of Manchester United, with the club giving him the sack after an abject performance at Anfield on Sunday. While Liverpool required two deflected strikes to overcome their rivals at the weekend, Xherdan Shaqiri’s goals were little more than they deserved. A lack of ambition from the visitors has seen Mourinho’s time as United boss end with the club 11 points off the top four and and a whopping 19 back on Liverpool.It took Jürgen Klopp’s side until the 73rd minute to regain the lead they surrendered after Alisson’s blunder, but the eventual scoreline was a fair reflection of the game. For all of their 36 attempts at goal – the most in a single Premier League game all season – Liverpool didn’t create too many clear-cut opportunities, but United were so passive throughout the match that a result of any kind would have been an injustice. Read more Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook features Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

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