MOURINHO EXPLAINS WHY HE DROPPED LUKAKU ON THE BENCH FOR EVERTON CLASH

Romelu Lukaku had been unable to score in the last eight games for Manchester United, and the Belgium hitman has been criticised for his poor run of form.

Jose Mourinho had suggested in his pre-match briefing on Friday that Lukaku would retain his place in the side for Everton clash but he was named on the bench instead for this game.

Asked if he was concerned about Lukaku, Mourinho replied: “Yep. No critics at all, a complete understanding that the player is a fantastic professional that wants to give everything for the team.

“But I have to agree that his moment is not sweet and not just with the goals that he’s not scoring.

“Also with his confidence, his movement, his touch, he’s not linking the game well with the team. ‘But he’s our striker. And he’s a good striker and he’s a striker that we believe in.

“Could I play Rashford there? But then I don’t have a winger because in this moment we are in this difficult situation.

“But he’s a hard working guy, he’s a good professional, one day the goal will arrive and the confidence will be back I believe.”

Mourinho instead deployed Marcus Rashford upfront, with Lukaku only a second-half substitute.

Explaining his decision, Mourinho said: “The reason is he is playing lots of matches and lately, not just scoring goals.

“But also not showing lots of confidence and sometimes we decide that the best thing for the players is to not be on the pitch, to be protected and away from the initial pressure.

“If he comes into the game later, he will come with a positive feeling of trying to make a difference and be back to normality because normally with Romelu, he scores lots of goals.

“So I think he is under pressure a little bit because he is not doing that.”