Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hailed "untouchable" frontman Romelu Lukaku.
The striker made an electric start to life at Old Trafford as he scored seven times in seven Premier League outings, yet after failing to find the net in his last five matches, he has come in for some criticism.
The Belgium international forward moved to United in the summer for a fee of £75 million and Mourinho has emphatically defended the recent acquisition.
"Romelu is untouchable in my team and should also be in terms of the support from the fans," he told the press ahead of a Tuesday night Champions League meeting with Benfica. "He's playing extremely well for us.
"The fans are free to express themselves as they want. But my job is to protect my players and Romelu should be untouchable.
"I don't think Romelu's quiet at all. Ask [Tottenham defenders] Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier if he was quiet!"
After overcoming Spurs 1-0 at the weekend, a match in which Anthony Martial came off the bench to score a late winner, Mourinho's attention is turned towards a fixture with the Portuguese outfit - a club that he says his side will not treat lightly.
"The players felt it was easy to win against CSKA and Basel but felt it was difficult versus Benfica. Benfica are much better than the others," he said on the eve of a fixture that could seal his side's passage through to the last-16 stage.
And Mourinho insists that the midweek fixture is the only one occupying the minds of his players, despite a meeting with defending Premier League champions Chelsea looming next weekend.
"Nobody here is thinking about another match other than Benfica. Nobody here is thinking about Chelsea. It's just Benfica and the Champions League," he affirmed.
Benfica have yet to pick up a point in the competition this season, having suffered a 1-0 defeat at home against the Red Devils earlier this month.