Romelu Lukaku has reacted to being voted Manchester United’s Player of the Month for March by the club’s supporters.
As always, fans voted in their thousands in the poll, conducted via our official Twitter account @ManUtd, and Lukaku was the overwhelming winner with 71 per cent of the final tally. Team-mates Nemanja Matic (22 per cent) and Ashley Young (seven per cent) were also nominated.
After two previous nominations in September and February, it’s third time lucky for the Belgian striker, who has now claimed the Reds’ monthly star-man award for the first time in his United career.
“I'd like to thank the fans for voting for me. I always try to repay them and I will try to do that between now and the end of the season,” he told ManUtd.com.
“It [the last month] has been great for me personally, and for the team as well. We're doing well and playing well, and we want to keep enjoying the moment we're in and try to improve in the last part of the season.
”I like all my goals!
“ he joked, when asked for a favourite from the last month. ”I don't like to choose one, I will do that at the end of the season. It's something I've always done. If I have a tap-in or a shot from just inside the box or just outside the box, I like all my goals because it's the best feeling.
“It's really important [to finish strongly]. It's something we have to do. We are Manchester United, you have to always aim for the highest position in the league. We have certain standards we have to achieve and we have to keep going with the games that are left.”
WHY ROM IS A WORTHY WINNER
Lukaku has enjoyed a magnificent debut season at Old Trafford and March was arguably his best month in a United shirt to date. He netted four goals and registered an assist in five games, and reached a significant landmark in his career.
He began the month by contributing to a sensational comeback against Crystal Palace, keeping his nerve in a packed penalty area to score the decisive equaliser as the Reds came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Selhurst Park.
The no.9 then set up Marcus Rashford’s opener against Liverpool with a deft flick-on and put in a good shift to help United to a 2-1 victory over our fierce rivals, before netting a consolation goal in the disappointing UEFA Champions League defeat against Sevilla at Old Trafford.
Lukaku continued to make an impact and netted the all-important first goal in the Reds’ 2-0 home wins over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final and Swansea City in the Premier League respectively.
The latter goal was particularly memorable for the 24-year-old, who became the youngest-ever foreign player to reach the significant milestone of 100 Premier League goals.
The stats behind Rom's 100 Premier League goalsVideo
It was also his 26th goal in all competitions this season for the Reds and 11th in 15 games for the club in 2018. If he is able to maintain this kind of excellent consistency in the remaining weeks of the season, there is every chance Lukaku can end the campaign with a tally which surpasses some of the biggest names in United’s illustrious history.
THE MANAGER’S CHIEF SERGEANT
Despite receiving criticism from some quarters during the course of the campaign, Jose Mourinho has constantly leapt to Lukaku’s defence and heaped praise on the former Everton man for his character and application week in week out.
“He’s an important guy for me,” the boss said recently.
“He’s one of the guys that I trust, that I love the attitude, that I love the character.
“He’s a sergeant, you know. His attitude is phenomenal. For me, it's not just about the goals he scores, but what he brings to the team – that spirit.”
Cole: Lukaku has learned a lot at UnitedVideo
Former United no.9 Andy Cole has also expressed his admiration and respect for the Belgian’s contribution as a lone striker so far this term.
“Lukaku has had a very good season,” Coley said on The Paddy Crerand Show on MUTV this week.
“I think it has probably been a lot tougher than he would have thought and now he appreciates that you can't have a weekend off at Manchester United, which he could have done at his previous clubs Everton and West Bromwich Albion.
“Here, you can't afford to do that. But he has played the majority of games and that says a lot about him. He has not been injured and, for his first season, I think he has been top drawer.”
THIS SEASON’S PLAYER OF THE MONTH WINNERS SO FAR:
August: Paul Pogba
September: Anthony Martial
October: Anthony Martial
November: Ashley Young
December: Jesse Lingard
January: Anthony Martial
February: David De Gea
March: Romelu Lukaku