Football News

Lukaku struggled at Man Utd due to lack of motivation and confidence, insists Saha

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:51, 13 August 2019

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes Romelu Lukaku struggled at Old Trafford due to a lack of motivation.

The Belgian left the Red Devils to join Inter Milan for £74m last week, signing a five-year contract, becoming the third most expensive signing in Italian history after Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain.

Did Lukaku fail at Man Utd? Five things to know…

  • Lukaku signed for Man Utd for £75m in 2017.
  • The Belgian scored 42 goals in 96 appearances across all competitions.
  • But 27 of those came in his first campaign.
  • Lukaku has now left United, signing for Inter Milan for £74m.
  • Saha believes Lukaku struggled due to motivation and self-confidence issues.

It ended a two-year spell for the 26-year-old at Old Trafford, in which he scored 42 goals in 96 games. Of those 42 goals, only 15 came in the 2019/20 campaign, which led to questions over Lukaku’s ability to lead the line for Man Utd.

And Saha, who spent four years with United between 2004 and 2008, believes Lukaku’s struggles came down to a lack of confidence.

“Lukaku wasn’t able to fulfil his potential at United and I think it’s down to his self-motivation and confidence,” he told bwin.

“He should be a defender’s nightmare, he’s blessed with both strength and pace, which is rare. He should be able to hold the ball and bring other players into the game, but he doesn’t use his strength to his advantage.

“He has been a little unlucky, as he’s not the type of player that can create a goal by himself, he needs service. United struggled to get the best service into the area while he was there and it means he can’t do what he’s best at – getting on the end of crosses and through balls.

“Again, the issues start from the back. As the defence has been a little shaky, the midfielders aren’t able to push up the pitch as much as they would like, which starves the service to the players at the top.”

Lukaku was criticised upon his departure by former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, who suggested the Belgian was unprofessional.

“He admitted he was overweight! He is over 100kg! He’s a Manchester United player!” Neville tweeted.

“He will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious.”

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Rashford will have no excuses not to score 20 goals

With Lukaku gone, the responsibility for scoring goals at United will fall upon young shoulders with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood the three strikers in the squad.

And Saha, who scored 42 goals for the Red Devils, believes Rashford must push on towards netting 20 Premier League goals this season.

“Rashford has got no excuses to not score over 20 league goals,” he added.

“He’s clearly Solskjaer’s main man up top now and he’ll start most games, giving him ample opportunities to score goals.

“He’s an excellent player and has all the attributes to be a Golden Boot winner – pace, technical ability, an engine and he’s unpredictable when he’s got the ball at his feet.

“Sometimes he’s guilty of trying one flick too many, which he needs to get out of his game, as he does the hard part but then tries one thing too much.

“He’s still very young, but Solskjaer is the perfect manager to get the best out of Rashford. Solskjaer always took his chances and was clinical in front of goal and if he can pass that down to Rashford, then he’ll score 20-30 goals a season.”

Rashford, who has never scored more than 10 league goals in a single season, got the 2019/20 campaign off to a good start, scoring twice in Man Utd’s 4-0 win over Chelsea.