Mourinho: Lukaku dropped due to lack of confidence

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The Manchester United manager took the decision to bench his £75 million striker for a meeting with Everton in an effort to protect him from criticism

Jose Mourinho has revealed that his decision to drop Romelu Lukaku for a Premier League clash with Everton was taken due to the striker suffering with a lack of confidence.

The Belgium international was acquired by the Red Devils for £75 million ($96m) in the summer of 2017.

He enjoyed a productive debut campaign at Old Trafford, with the odd dip overcome to net 27 goals across all competitions.

Four efforts were then recorded for his country at the 2018 World Cup, with another three strikes plundered for Roberto Martinez’s side this term.

Lukaku has, however, managed just four club goals in the current campaign, with the last of those coming against Watford on September 15.

Having drawn a blank in his last eight outings for United, and come in for criticism as a result, Mourinho has opted to take the 25-year-old out of the firing line for a meeting with his former club.

The Portuguese told Sky Sports of his reasons for benching Lukaku ahead of a clash with Everton: “The reason is that he’s playing lots of matches and lately, not just not scoring goals but mentally, he is not showing lots of confidence.

“Sometimes we decide that the best thing for the player is not to be on the pitch, is to be protected and away from the initial pressure.

“If later he comes into the game, probably he can come with a positive feeling of trying to make a difference and be back to normality because normality with Romelu is to score a lot of goals.

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“I think he is a little bit under pressure because he’s not doing better.”

In the absence of Lukaku, who has been selected by Mourinho whenever fit throughout his time with the Red Devils, Marcus Rashford has been handed the chance to lead the line.

The England international has regularly expressed a desire to operate as a central striker, rather than being stuck on the flanks, and has often been urged to leave Old Trafford in an effort to find those opportunities.

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