Romelu Lukaku.

Alan Shearer: Why Romelu Lukaku struggles against top PL sides for Man Utd

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Romelu Lukaku has come under fire in recent weeks for not scoring against a single top-six side in the Premier League this season.

But that all changed on Sunday as Manchester United ran out 2-1 winners over Chelsea, courtesy of a lovely goal and assist from the Belgium international.

There was a slice of luck about the way the ball fell to Lukaku inside the 18-yard box for his goal, but there was nothing lucky about the finish, which was clinical.

As for the assist for Jesse Lingard's winner, the 24-year-old curled an inch-perfect cross for his teammate to nod past Thibaut Courtois.

Lukaku showed against Chelsea he's very much capable of making the difference in bigger games - not that he's ever thought otherwise.

Speaking afterwards to BBC Sport, Lukaku explained how being criticised doesn't bother him and that, if anything, it makes him work even harder.

"Not really," said the Belgian. "I always work hard, so to get the three points is great for us. We had to work really hard for that win.

"We were well prepared and we did our best today. At the end of the day I just want to work hard for the team, and if I improve I'm really satisfied."

Lukaku must build on his performance against Chelsea and he has another opportunity to prove his mettle against a rival when United host Liverpool on March 10.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League

However, according to Alan Shearer, it's not entirely Lukaku's fault that he doesn't always perform against the Premier League's top six.

Speaking on Match of the Day, the former striker explained that Lukaku is starved of service in the bigger games because United's midfield play safer passes.

Players like Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera look to retain the ball by passing sidewards and backwards, rather than take risks by playing the ball over the top for Lukaku to chase.


"I do have got a little bit of sympathy for him, because of the way United play and the way Mourinho wants them to play," said Shearer in the video above.

"With either Herrera in there or Matic, once the midfielder gets the ball, not always are their first thought, 'can I get the ball forward?'

"Sometimes their first thought is, 'I'll go to the left, I'll go back or maybe I'll go right'.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League

"But if it were to happen more often and look forward first, play that ball forward, that makes it so much easier for a centre forward to cause problems."

Shearer could be on to something here. United's players must play to Lukaku's strengths in the big games and they can do that by looking for a pass much earlier.

Premier League
Alan Shearer
Manchester United
Romelu Lukaku
Jose Mourinho

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