Gary Neville has backed Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku to end his scoring slump, but says now is the time for him to deliver.
Lukaku has struggled of late after a blistering start to life at Old Trafford, scoring just once since the end of September.
Neville, though, insists it was always unrealistic to expect Lukaku to maintain that form, though admits that with Arsenal and Manchester City on the horizon, now is the time for him to show his worth to the side.
“I don’t think Jose Mourinho will be worried about Romelu Lukaku’s lack of goals, but I think ultimately he’s got two big games coming up,” Neville wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“He was brought in to score goals in the games which United were drawing last season. However, it is in the big matches where they now need him most. If there is a way to get at Arsenal and Manchester City then it is by really going at their defences.
“For a striker, it is all about your goals and unfortunately, people will always measure him by that, but away from the goals his contribution has to be big, to mess their centre-halves about.
“He’s had his struggles but ultimately that was always going to happen at some point after his blistering start, but this is a critical stage of the season where he has to deliver.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to fitness has prompted some fans to call for the Swede to replace Lukaku in the Man Utd side, but Neville does not personally see that happening.
“I don’t see Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a threat to Lukaku at all but as a supplement. The only way Ibrahimovic can become number one is if the aura of Zlatan gets to Lukaku.
“Zlatan is confident but Lukaku is number one, the fans and the manager believe in him and if he does have any demons then he needs to clear them from his mind.”
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