Lukaku struggling with Ibrahimovic pressure at Man United, says Ferdinand

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The former Red Devils defender has backed the misfiring Belgian to come good again, but believes the presence of a rival has impacted his game

Romelu Lukaku’s struggles in front of goal at Manchester United are partly down to the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, says Rio Ferdinand.

The burly Belgian frontman burst out of the blocks at Old Trafford following a £75 million transfer from Everton, netting 11 times in his opening 10 games.

He has mustered just one in his last 11, however, drawing another blank against Watford in his most recent outing.

Ferdinand has backed the misfiring 24-year-old to come good again, but also believes that the return of Ibrahimovic from a serious injury to provide experienced competition is weighing on Lukaku’s mind.

The former Red Devils defender told BT Sport: "He'll come out of this. I think that maybe the bigger problem for him is Zlatan Ibrahimovic being there.

Romelu Lukakau Zlatan Ibrahimovic pressure Rio Ferdinand

"Mentally, having a big striker behind you who wants to play, that's a pressure from within, and sometimes people find that hard to deal with."

Zlatan 11/10 to score v Arsenal

Lukaku spurned a gilt-edged chance to get back among the goals against Watford, but Jose Mourinho refused to criticise his big-money frontman following a 4-2 win for United.

He said: "He works amazingly well for the team. I would never blame him for missing an easy chance, never. He's an amazing professional. I couldn't be happier with him."

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The Portuguese did, however, jokingly suggest that Lukaku could do with a new boot deal in order to provide the motivation to get back on the scoresheet.

He added: "I think he needs a contract with boots because he doesn't have a contract with any brand.

"That's why he is playing with the black boots, he needs to be paid the right money so he goes back to goals.”

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