What Jose Mourinho did on touchline when Romelu Lukaku went to take penalty v Benfica

Romelu Lukaku started the season like a house on fire, scoring 11 goals for Manchester United in his first 11 appearances for the club.

The Belgian striker hit the ground running at Old Trafford following his £75 million transfer from Everton, but the goals have well and truly dried up for him since the international break.

Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw against Benfica in the Champions League means Lukaku has now gone six matches without a goal. His last goal for United came in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace back in September.

Lukaku thought he had the chance to end his drought against Benfica when United were awarded a penalty with 10 minutes to go.

Anthony Martial, who missed a spot-kick earlier in the match, had been subbed off and Lukaku appeared determined to get his name on the scoresheet.

Lukaku walked away from penalty after Herrera had a word

However, Lukaku turned and walked away from the penalty after Ander Herrera had a quiet word in his ear.

Blind eventually took the penalty

Herrera then looked set to take the spot-kick when, incredibly, Daley Blind came up and told the Spaniard to walk away.

Blind eventually took the penalty and converted past Mile Svilar, helping wrap up all three points for the home side.

What Mourinho did when Lukaku tried to take penalty

But why wasn’t Lukaku, who celebrated with Blind when the ball hit the back of the net, allowed to take the penalty in the first place?

It turns out it was all down to Jose Mourinho who, according to ESPN’s Rob Dawson, told Herrera to stop Lukaku and then gestured ‘no’ to the striker while he was preparing himself to take it.

The Manchester Evening News’s Samuel Luckhurst added that Mourinho ‘wagged his finger’ when Lukaku asked who’s taking it.

Mourinho: Why I didn’t let Lukaku take the penalty

Mourinho admitted after the match that he had denied Lukaku the chance to take the penalty.

Asked why in a post-match interview with Viasport Fotball, he said: “I’m the manager and I make the decisions. He missed the last penalty and I want him to take a penalty when there is no pressure, there is no responsibility and there is no need of scoring the goal. But we are playing Champions League, we need points. Even now with 12 points we aren’t qualified.

“It is an important moment of the game – with 10, 12 minutes to go, 1-0 – I want a player free of the pressure of having missed the last one.

“I’m really happy with his personality and that he takes responsbility but I’m here to protect players and the team. At that moment, I protected him. I needed to protect him because he missed the last time.

“He will take a penalty again when the game is over, and the game was not over.”

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