Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku: We must be smart against Barca

Tuesday 09 April 2019 17:25

Romelu Lukaku insists Manchester United must be "smart" in our Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash against Barcelona.

Ernesto Valverde’s La Liga leaders travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, as Lukaku could take on Barcelona for the first time in his competitive career.

The 25-year-old believes we are meeting one of the very best sides in Europe and, therefore, the Reds cannot afford any lapses in concentration in either leg against the powerful Catalan outfit.
Romelu Lukaku poses for the camera at training on Tuesday.
“For the game against Barcelona, we need to be focused from the first minute until the very last minute of the second leg,” Lukaku told UEFA ahead of Wednesday’s game.

“We need to make as few mistakes as possible but also produce some good football because, sometimes, Barcelona leave you some space to play in. It will depend on the type of game and the coach’s game-plan, as well as the way that they play.

“Because they have their own system which does not change and does not adapt [to the opponent]. We must be very smart about the moments when we can go forward and the moments when we can’t.”

Lukaku played a huge role in ensuring the Reds made it to the quarter-final stage, by bagging a crucial brace in our last-16 second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.
His double, along with Marcus Rashford’s injury-time penalty, meant United ran out 3-1 winners at the Parc de Princes and qualified for the last eight of Europe’s elite competition.

The Belgian knows he and his team-mates will draw strength from last month’s superb victory in France.

“Yes, it gives us some confidence, of course,” he said. 

“It’s a really nice stadium [in Paris], with a hostile atmosphere for the visiting team. But we were ready, we knew that we would create some opportunities, which we did, and we scored them.
Romelu Lukaku netted two goals in our recent trip to Paris.
“Defensively, we had to put in huge effort, but that’s football. Football is not only about attacking, it’s also about defending and we did it well against a team full of big names and personalities. 

“But we are Manchester United and we knew that, if there was one team that could have made the difference that night, it was us.”

For Rom, this is the first time he has made it to the last eight of the competition. The striker had actually never played in the tournament proper (he had appeared in the qualifiers) before joining United last summer, but he has netted an impressive seven goals in 15 Champions League matches in a red shirt.

The striker even scored on his debut in the competition against Basel in September 2017.

“It was about time, I told myself: ‘At last! At last!’. After all these goals, I think that I had already scored 150 career goals, but none of them had come in the Champions League. So I said: ‘I’ve finally scored in the Champions League! It was about time!’

“Because it’s the kind of competition that so many football players want to take part in. So, to score on my Champions League debut, was unforgettable.

“My mother was there, which made it even more special. When I heard the Champions League anthem, I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know if I had to be serious or not… I started to laugh because I was saying:’At last! I’m finally playing in the Champions League.'

“I was very happy to be taking part in such a competition. It’s good to take part, but winning it is something else.”

Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on Download the Official App here.