Romelu Lukaku’s scoring record no concern for Jose Mourinho or Nemanja Matic


ESPN FC’s Ale Moreno feels Alexis Sanchez will attract more attention from defenders, which will then allow Romelu Lukaku more space in the attack.

MANCHESTER, England — Jose Mourinho says he is not concerned by Romelu Lukaku’s goal scoring record against Manchester United’s big six rivals ahead of Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford with weekend.

The Belgian has scored 21 goals since his summer move from Everton but has failed to find the net in 10 appearances against the Premier League’s top eight teams this season.

The 24-year-old will get another chance to break his duck when United face Chelsea on Sunday, but Mourinho insists it does not matter if the streak continues.

He told a news conference on Friday: “I’m not worried, 21 goals is not bad at all and I don’t measure the players’ performances the same way you do.

“I have other points of analysis and I’m happy with Romelu’s performance when he doesn’t score goals.”

Also on Friday, United midfielder Nemanja Matic backed Lukaku to achieve “big things” at Old Trafford.

“Romelu is a great striker,” Matic told Sky Sports. “For a young player, it’s not an easy situation because everyone expects you to score in every game. It is not easy to deal with that expectation but as he’s shown already he’s doing well.

“Mentally he’s strong and I’m sure he will continue to score goals. He’s still young and can improve more and I’m sure he will do big things for Manchester United.”

Matic also issued his support for Alexis Sanchez, who has only scored one goal in six games since moving from Arsenal.

“Alexis is working really hard,” Matic said. “We are happy to have him in the team because in these kind of games a player with that quality can decide the game.

“I’m sure he will be very important for us on Sunday and for the rest of the season. I am happy he is a teammate.”

United will be without Ander Herrera against Chelsea after the Spaniard was forced off in the first half of the 0-0 draw with Sevilla on Wednesday.

Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind also missed the Champions League last-16 first leg in Spain but Mourinho is not expecting any of the absentees to recover in time to face Antonio Conte’s side.

“Ander is out. I don’t know the final diagnosis but I know he is out for a few weeks,” Mourinho said. “I don’t know how to say ‘few’ — two, three four five or six, I don’t know. Coming back from injuries, nobody else.”

Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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