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Watch: Mourinho Explains Strange Lukaku Penalty Situation

Watch: Mourinho Explains Strange Lukaku Penalty Situation
By PJ Browne Updated

Man Utd were twice awarded penalties by referee Gediminas Mazeika during Tuesday night's 2-0 Champions League win against Benfica.

Anthony Martial missed the first after 15 minutes. The second was scored by Daley Blind in the 78th minute. In between, an own goal from unfortunate young Belgian keeper Mile Svilar gave Man Utd the lead.

There was a strange moment as those inside Old Trafford awaited the taking of the second penalty. After Marcus Rashford had been fouled in the box, Romelu Lukaku first appeared to be the one who would take responsibility.

Ander Herrera stepped in to take the ball from the Belgian striker. Daley Blind would then pull rank on Herrera.

Speaking to Norwegian TV after the game, Jose Mourinho was asked if he had wanted Lukaku to take the penalty. "No," was the Man Utd manager's answer.

Asked for his rationale, Mourinho said that he wanted to "protect" the 24-year-old who is now on a run of six games without a goal. Lukaku had previously missed a penalty against Leicester back in August.

Because I am the manager and I make the decisions. He missed the last one and I want him to take a penalty when there is no pressure, there is no responsibility and there is no need to scoring the goal.

We are playing Champions League - we need points. We are not even now, with 12 points, we are not even qualified. It is an important moment of the game with 10 or 12 minutes to go, one nil, I want a player free of the pressure of missing the last one.

I am really happy with his personality, I am really happy that he wants to take the responsibility. I am here, sometimes, to protect players and to protect the team. In that moment, I protect him. Maybe Blind misses but in that moment, I need to protect him because he missed the last one.

Mourinho saying he is trying to protect his player is very easy to interpret as him not trusting the player - that is a thought which has also surely entered Lukaku's head.

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The Portuguese manager added that Lukaku will take a penalty again but it will have to be in a situation where Man Utd hold a substantial advantage.

Watch: Odd Moment As Daley Blind Pulls Rank On Lukaku & Herrera For Penalty

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