Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Sanchez Will Ease Lukaku's Goal Burden

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Sanchez Will Ease Lukaku's Goal Burden

Article excerpt

THE badge point after a breathless debut goal against West Ham, cupping his ear in celebration after silencing his former supporters at Everton, the primal scream at St Mary's...there was no stopping Romelu Lukaku as summer faded into autumn.

But even though the goals have dried up in winter - just six in the last 27 games - you can't fault the Belgian's contribution, whether it is those huge jumps as he attempts to make contact with an aerial avalanche or a game-winning assist for Anthony Martial's winner at Burnley.

Mourinho values that as much as his goals - correctly predicting that Lukaku's critics would round on him when he went the goals inevitably dried up - and that is why Lukaku's place will never be in danger.

Like fellow summer signing Nemanja Matic, Lukaku has not enjoyed much time off and has featured in 94 per cent of United's games this season, starting more matches than any other player.

Not even Zlatan Ibrahimovic eased the burden despite Lukaku bizarrely being banished to the right wing to accommodate him on his remarkable return against Newcastle in November.

Having the 36-year-old steal the limelight and breathe down his neck has not necessarily had the desired impact, and the pair's botched partnership summed up a frustrating festive period for United as they constantly operated in similar zones.

But Alexis Sanchez is different. The Chilean will ease the goalscoring burden, occasionally spearheading United's frontline to give Lukaku a deserved rest, and expect him to have a positive influence on the No.9 - whatever position he plays.

Sanchez enjoyed his best For all the his goals, created 183 from open last three Ciaran goalscoring season as a lone striker at Arsenal last season, scoring 30 goals, but his preferred position is cutting in on his right foot from the left flank and letting rip from 25 yards.

Tellingly, the Chilean only namechecked the left wing and central positions in his first interview as a United player - even if he vowed to 'fit in anywhere. …

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