Romelu Lukaku is “working every day” to improve his touch as his struggles in front of goal for Manchester United continue to cause consternation for fans and former players alike.
The striker has scored only four goals in 17 appearances this season as United have faltered in the Premier League and limped through their Champions League group.
He struggled with his ball control during Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Young Boys and was criticised by ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes for his increasing tendency to drop deep.
“He’s not got the ability [to receive the ball deep],” Scholes said on BT Sport. “His strengths are running in behind, getting on the end of crosses. And the midfield players need to tell him to do that.”
In an interview with Bleacher Report , Lukaku defended against his critics, particularly those who have taken aim at his first touch.
“You improve on it every day,” he said.
“It’s something that you have to work on every day, yeah.
“I’m one of the strongest players in the league. I never get injured. I’m always there, so what’s the problem?”
Lukaku hasn’t found the net in the Premier League since the 2-1 win at Watford on 14 September, a run stretching back eight games, and was dropped from the starting XI for the win over Young Boys, replacing Jesse Lingard for the final 25 minutes.
“That bothers myself, because I’m a goalscorer. I want to score goals, I’m known for scoring goals, so that’s something that really bothers me.”
Of Scholes’ comments – which included the claim that United will never win the league with the Belgian up front – Lukaku was dismissive.
“I really don’t respond to him. You know, when I see him before the TV, he still shakes my hand. These guys who are pundits today, they get paid to say stuff.”
United face Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday evening.