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How Lukaku is embracing the expectations at United

There are high expectations placed upon a Manchester United no.9 and Romelu Lukaku does not lose any sleep over them. Instead, he continues to do what he does best: scoring goals.

The 24 year old has hit double figures throughout his six successive seasons in England and Man of the Match performances like his goal-plus-assist contribution against former club Chelsea in Sunday’s 2-1 Old Trafford win will help towards the quest to convince any remaining doubters.

Equalising against the club he joined from Anderlecht in 2011 when he started in the Premier League was a satisfying moment for Lukaku, who plays in the spotlight that shines on every Reds striker.
Watch the highlights from United's 2-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League
Back in July, the headline-hogging striker transfer stories of the summer centred around the futures of Lukaku, then at Everton, and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. In the end, after weeks of intense speculation, Chelsea turned to Morata after United had snapped up their former Belgian hitman.

It was always going to become one of the campaign’s ongoing stories as the pair settled into new HQs. Who got the better deal? Lukaku went off like a train for United. Morata wasn’t far behind. 

Chelsea’s buy arguably stole a march when he scored the winner against United at Stamford Bridge on 5 November in the Blues’ 1-0 win. However, Morata has only netted four times since (not once in 2018) and regular Chelsea observers will tell you he hasn’t played well from that moment either.

Meanwhile, in 2018, Lukaku has scored seven goals in 10 matches and his leveller against Chelsea was his 22nd in all competitions. Morata is trailing 10 goals behind and there were murmurings of discontent in the East Stand away section on Sunday as Morata struggled against United.

'22 goals for me - not bad!'Video

Lukaku, on the other hand, was brushing off the notion he didn’t score against the big teams with a powerful and influential display on Sunday. Not only did he score, but the Antwerp-born forward cutely set up Jesse Lingard’s winner and was a constant pain to Chelsea.

“That's the situation around me,”
Lukaku explained afterwards.
“I just need to keep working hard. I think I have got a nice record. I've scored a lot this season and I just want to keep going. I know that I can improve and I want to improve and really work hard. I want to win trophies.

“I'm 24 and I think I have a lot of years ahead of me to improve before my prime so I'm never satisfied. I always want to improve and get better and it's a nice challenge. I've been in the game for so long. I started playing when I was 16. Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me. I've been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I've proved myself.

“You expect a bit more respect but it's the situation we're in. I don't listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch. I'm playing for the biggest club in the world. It's something that I wanted, but it's not only that, I just want to win trophies.
“I think a lot of big players that we recognise today in the game are players who have won something and I want to be part of that group. The road is still far ahead, but I'm ambitious and I'll work every day for my team to win - I'm not thinking about myself.

“I'm happy for the team, that's the most important thing. I'm always happy as long as we win. That I scored and got an assist was good, but at the end of the day you need to keep improving week in, week out and try to get better.

“When I make a choice it's with my head and my heart. I made the right choice for me to join United. As you can see, I'm in a good situation. I'm with a manager and players who push me every day. The challenge is there to win and it's something that I wanted.”

United are likely to win more with Lukaku in the form he was in against Chelsea.