Why Romelu Lukaku didn’t take the penalty? Jose Mourinho Explains

Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says it was his decision for Daley Blind to take the Reds’ second penalty in the UEFA Champions League win over Benfica at Old Trafford.

Anthony Martial took the first spot-kick, which was saved by Mile Svilar early in the first-half, but the Frenchman was off the field when substitute Marcus Rashford was brought down in the box in the 78th minute.

An own goal from Mile Svilar on the stroke of half-time followed up by Daley Blind’s penalty inside the final 15 minutes secured our fourth victory in as many games in this season’s competition.

The French international had been replaced by Marcus Rashford, who won our second penalty before Daley Blind stepped up to convert it.

Romelu Lukaku had initially grabbed the ball after Rashford had won the penalty on his 20th birthday.  However, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind had a word with the striker before the Dutch international took control of the situation, blasting the ball down the middle and into the back of the net.

Speaking after the game, Jose Mourinho told BT Sport why Romelu Lukaku took neither of our penalties:

“Anthony Martial was the player to take penalties. He took it and missed, he was not on the pitch for the second one.

“The players were happy to take the responsibility, Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera but my choice was Daley Blind. That is my decision.We train, I analyse, I try to make the right decisions. Martial did not miss one and was taking them in training against three good goalkeepers, sometimes the choice is not the right one. Daley was my decision in the moment.”

Converting the spot-kick meant Blind became the Reds’ 11th different scorer of the 2017/18 campaign so far. It was his maiden goal in the Champions League after 24 appearances for United and Ajax, and his sixth strike for the Reds overall – his fifth came in the Boxing Day win over Sunderland last season.

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