Paul Scholes has criticised Jose Mourinho for focusing unnecessary levels of attention on Romelu Lukaku over the last week.
The 54-year-old hit out at Manchester United supporters for their lack of support towards the Belgian during a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
And he once again placed Lukaku in the limelight during the 2-0 win over Benfica, instructing Daley Blind to take a penalty instead of him.
Speaking on BT Sport, Scholes noted that there was no need for Mourinho to magnify the entire situation regarding his £75m man.
“I thought Lukaku did alright [against Benfica],” he said. “His manager brought attention to it on Saturday when he didn’t need to.”
“If Jose hadn’t brought it to everyone’s attention, it wouldn’t have been mentioned as much. He is still contributing to the team.”
Mourinho has not voiced and extended this debate surrounding Lukaku for no reason.
His prickly response to supporters bemoaning the striker’s lack of potency in front of goal against Spurs, alongside his decision to effectively take the ball out of his hands and give the penalty to Blind on Tuesday, reflects a maxim he has always subscribed to and encouraged supporters to recognise: that Lukaku’s success at Old Trafford is not merely reflected by how many goals he scores.
But this notion, whilst ostensibly correct, will never be accepted by the wider public. Supporters will always value an average individual Lukaku performance hallmarked by goals more than a decent all-round display without a goal. We are obsessed with seeing the former, but Mourinho, in his constant mentioning of the subject, wants us to appreciate the latter, yet you feel this is a battle the 54-year-old can never win.