Belfast Telegraph

Unhappy Mourinho calls on United fans to back Lukaku

Manchester United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho has expressed his unhappiness with Manchester United fans over what he regards as unfair treatment of Romelu Lukaku.

Saturday's 1-0 home victory over Tottenham saw striker Lukaku fail to score for a fifth successive game but he did set up substitute Anthony Martial's 81st-minute winner, moments after hitting the post.

Regarding the Belgian, who has netted 11 goals for the club this season, United boss Mourinho said: "I would like the supporters to explain to me why they don't support him so much, because he gives everything.

"It is not fair when scoring the goal or not scoring the goal makes the whole difference.

"So, I'm a bit disappointed - but not with him. With him (I am) very pleased."

When the final whistle sounded at Old Trafford on Saturday, Mourinho, whose decision to replace Marcus Rashford with Martial in the 70th minute prompted some jeers, held a finger to his lips as he looked directly into a television camera.

He subsequently said when asked about the gesture: "Some people speak too much... Calm down, relax."

Mourinho was full of praise for his team after a return to winning ways in the Premier League for United following the 0-0 draw at Liverpool and last weekend's shock 2-1 loss at Huddersfield.

Having been critical of his players after the defeat at the John Smith's Stadium, the Portuguese said of the Tottenham game: "If the result is 0-0 or 1-1, my feelings with the players would be the same. They gave everything, every ball was like the most important ball of their career. The focus and concentration was there.

"We played well. To play well against a very good team feels better."

While second-placed United are five points behind Manchester City, the gap between third-placed Tottenham and the leaders is now eight points.

Saturday's defeat was another disappointment for the north London outfit, three days on from a 3-2 loss to West Ham in the Carabao Cup.

Mauricio Pochettino's team have been brought back down to earth after thrashing Liverpool 4-1 in the league last weekend.

With a Champions League clash against Real Madrid to come on Wednesday, midfielder Dele Alli has stressed the importance of not letting the defeats throw them off kilter.

"We don't just want to compete, we want to win and as a team," the England international said. "We're frustrated but now we have two big games coming up, Real Madrid and Crystal Palace (in the league next Sunday) so it's important we learn from this and keep building as a team.

"We're still in a fantastic position, so we can't let this knock us back."

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