Romelu Lukaku is untouchable in my team as far as respect is concerned: José Mourinho

Mourinho has described Lukaku as untouchable, with the Manchester United manager saying he has to protect his players when they deserve it.

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is untouchable according to manager Jose Mourinho Reuters

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku should be "untouchable" from fans' criticism, says manager José Mourinho.

The £75m summer signing from Everton, 24, scored 11 goals in his first 10 games - but none in his last five.

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"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's manager added.

"What he does for the team is fantastic and to play football for a striker is not just about scoring goals," said the Manchester United boss, according to the BBC.

The Belgium forward, sold by Mourinho, while he was Chelsea manager, drew his fifth blank in a row against Tottenham on Saturday - but did set up Anthony Martial's winner.

After the 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Saturday, Mourinho expressed disappointment that Lukaku was not given vociferous support. The centre-forward created Anthony Martial's 81st-minute winner and Mourinho also pointed to how the Belgian presented difficulty for Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

"Ask Vertonghen and Alderweireld if he was quiet, and they are some of the best centre-backs in football. I don't think he's quiet at all. The point is scoring or not scoring because in the end that is what people analyse sometimes."

As per the Guardian, United welcome Benfica in Tuesday's fourth Champions League Group A match as leaders with maximum points. If United wins they are guaranteed qualification for the knockout stage. They go to Chelsea on Sunday in the Premier League but Mourinho said: "Nobody here thinks about another match than Benfica. Nobody here thinks about Chelsea. So it's just Benfica, Champions League and only Champions League."

On the achievement of potentially qualifying after four matches, Mourinho said: "Manchester United was eliminated by Basel and PSV Eindhoven [in the group stages in 2011 and 2015 respectively] but I think it is quite a logical consequence of evolution. We played the Europa League and won it. My team are now playing in the Champions League and we are now much better than last year or three years ago."