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Romelu Lukaku insists he deserves more respect for his goal-scoring consistency.
But the Belgium striker admits he will only silence his critics when he wins trophies with Manchester United.
Lukaku has been labelled a ‘flat-track bully’ for scoring the bulk of his goals in his career against lower placed teams.
His strike against Chelsea in United’s 2-1 win yesterday was his first against any of the top eight teams in the Premier League this season following his £75m move from Everton last summer.
It took his tally to 22 in all competitions – the fourth season in a row he has passed the 20-mark – and he also claimed the assist for Jesse Lingard’s winner as United came from behind to move back into second place.
Lukaku, 24, says he is happy with his form but admits he is still has much to improve despite a record of 167 goals in 357 games since making his debut for Anderlecht as a 16-year-old in May 2009.
“I think people forget how young I am because I’ve been in the game for so long,” he said.
“I started playing for Anderlecht when I was 16. Year in, year out, people expect 20 goals from me. I’ve been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I’ve proved myself.
“You expect a bit more respect but that’s the situation around me. I don’t listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch.
“I just need to keep working hard. I think I have got a nice record. I’ve scored a lot this season and I just want to keep going.
“I know that I can improve and I want to improve and really work hard. I want to win trophies. We are still in the fight in two competitions. It’s not going to be easy but it’s a nice challenge.
“What can I improve? Everything. I’m 24 and I think I have a lot of years ahead of me to improve before my prime so I’m never satisfied. I always want to improve and get better and it’s a nice challenge.”
Asked what will earn him the respect he feels he deserves he added: “If I win. I want to win. As long as I win and I lead my team to winning trophies that’s when I will be really satisfied.
“As a football player, I don’t play for the individual. I think a lot of big players that we recognise today in the game are players who have won something and I want to be part of them.
“The road is still far ahead, but I’m ambitious and I’ll work every day for my team to win – I’m not thinking about myself.”
Chelsea, his first club in England, wanted to take him back to Stamford Bridge last summer but he has no regrets about joining United and re-uniting with Jose Mourinho, even though the United boss sold him when he was in charge of the London club.
“Regrets? No, no, no,” he said. “When I make a choice it’s with my head and my heart. I made the right choice for me. As you can see, I’m in a good situation. I’m with a manager and players who push me every day. I’m playing for the biggest club in the world. It’s something that I wanted. But it’s not only that the challenge is there to win trophies.”
Lukaku explained why he celebrated Lingard’s goal more wildly than his own by saying: “It was the winning goal! I like to win and it doesn’t matter who scores. I always have the desire to win.
“I’m happy for the team, that’s the most important thing. Before the game we were third and now we’re second again so that’s the most important thing. It’s not done yet. You need to stay on your toes all the time and stay focused. It’s a good challenge and with the team we have and the players we have, we are up for it.”
As for his goal he said: “I thought I would score but the ball slowed down. They should make the pitch a bit wetter. I’m happy. I’m always happy as long as we win. That I scored and got an assist today was good, but at the end of the day you need to keep improving week in, week out, and try to get better.”