'Lukaku is worth more than goals' – Berbatov defends Man Utd striker

The Belgium striker has struggled for form at Old Trafford but the ex-Bulgaria international believes he needs better service from his team-mates

Dimitar Berbatov has defended Romelu Lukaku, insisting that the Manchester United striker is worth more than goals to Jose Mourinho.

The Belgium international ended a drought of 997 minutes without a goal at Old Trafford on Saturday as he scored in United’s 4-1 win over Fulham.

Lukaku now has two goals in his last three games, having previously gone seven games without finding the net in the  Premier League for United.

Such form has led to reports that the 25-year-old could seek a move away from the club, but Berbatov, a player lauded as much for his touch as his finishing ability, has defended Lukaku.

“Why do people concentrate on this [goalscoring drought]?” Berbatov said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“Strikers are more than just goals now. How is that going to help Lukaku when there are constantly people saying how long he didn’t score a goal for.

“It is important and I am sure he had that relief ‘it is finally over’. People always talking about him not scoring is just spreading negativity.”

Lukaku has often been derided for his first touch, with viral clips on social media often drawing attention to his failure to trap a ball.

Berbatov, though, believes that he merely needs better service.

“He knows all this,” he added. “He is probably going home and saying to himself ‘I cannot believe I didn’t score again, people are going to be on my back.’ How is that going to affect his self-confidence? It is low.

“People think he does not want to score, but that is wrong of course.

“I like him a lot, because he is good on the ball, he is powerful, but he needs team-mates around him who understand his quality, and know how to pass him the ball.

“If Lukaku is not as good as others with his first touch, then give him a ball that he can handle.”

Lukaku has scored a total of 33 goals for United in 71 games. Berbatov, by comparison, scored 56 goals across 149 games, and also won two Premier League titles.

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