Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has criticized the way he was treated by former club Manchester United and claimed the Red Devils made him a “scapegoat”.
The Belgian recently said in an interview that he “didn’t feel protected” by the club and spoke about his disappointment at seeing reports about his future in the press:
He felt that he, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez were made into scapegoats:
“It is Pogba, it is me or it is Alexis. It’s the three of us all the time. They have got to find somebody to blame. I put my hand up, like, this year I don’t think I was the only one playing bad. A lot of people were playing bad but they had to find the culprit.”
The striker racked up an impressive 27 goals in all competitions in his debut season at Manchester United but managed just 15 in 45 appearances in his second campaign.
Lukaku also slipped behind 21-year-old Marcus Rashford in the pecking order. The England international seems more suited to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s style of play than the Belgian.
Putting Lukaku’s words into consideration, it seems like deja vu all over again and the next culprit in line to suffer that fate could be Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman has had an eventful past few weeks and could be set for a season of frustration that might perhaps turn out to be his last at Manchester.
From refusing to resume training in pre-season to his missed penalty against Wolves and the disgraceful racial abuse he got after that, it does look like United have the perfect opportunity to make a scapegoat of out the 26-year-old.
With further reports suggesting he will be stripped off his penalty duties, you get the feeling he would be having similar thoughts as Lukaku once did.
That hurting feeling of discontent and a fall in esteem when a player of both their “reputations” get dropped and see themselves replaced by a less experienced youngster.
With Real Madrid waiting to pounce on a fallout between United and the Frenchman, Solksjaer will be wary of addressing the Pogba saga reasonably.
For all of his issues on and off the pitch, he still remains United’s best midfielder and perhaps their most influential player as well.
Last season, he scored the most Premier League goals of any United player and bailed them out from losing positions a number of times – indicating his dire importance to the club.
Paul Pogba is easily one of the best midfielders in his position and United will be dumb to think that they can easily get another player like him.
Being a boyhood player from the club, his passion will always be there and Solksjaer can capitalize on that to set him back on a focused path. If the Red Devils are to stand any “realistic” chance of a top-four finish, they will no doubt be needing the services of a fully committed Paul Pogba.
Time is still on to salvage the growing situation and prevent a “Lukaku” from happening all over again.