Lukaku aims to be No.1

Romelu Lukaku will "remember to have fun" at the ongoing World Cup, despite claiming some people in his country want to see him fail.

  • Published 19.06.18

Sochi: Romelu Lukaku will "remember to have fun" at the ongoing World Cup, despite claiming some people in his country want to see him fail.

The 25-year-old Manchester United forward scored a brace in Belglium's 3-0 win over Panama in their Cup opener, here, on Monday. But Lukaku feels many Belgium supporters do not appreciate him and are unaware of the poverty he faced during childhood.

"If you weren't with me when I had nothing, then you can't really understand me," he said.

"When I went to Chelsea and I wasn't playing, I heard people laughing at me. When I got loaned out to West Brom, I again heard them laughing at me.

"But it's cool. Those people weren't with me when we were pouring water in our cereals."

Lukaku emphasised his pride at representing Belgium despite all criticisms and his ambition to become a legend. "If you don't like the way I play, that's fine," he said.

"But I was born in Belgium. I grew up in Antwerp, and Liege and Brussels. I wanted to be the best footballer in Belgian history. My goal is to be the best."

For coach Roberto Martinez, the 3-0 win was a victory for a new sense of team solidarity as his squad of precocious talents eyes World Cup glory.

Dries Mertens after scoring the first goal on Monday

"It gives you a lot of breathing-space," Martinez told reporters. "I felt from that point onwards, we were more ourselves and we were more in control."

But Martinez, hired two years ago to end a record of under-achievement for a "golden generation" of Red Devils, was as keen to stress his front line's commitment to getting back in defence.

"There are no easy games," he said, giving credit for their defensive composure to a Panama side who will next face England and Tunisia.

"We just got a little bit anxious, but I was delighted by the way we defended," he added. "You couldn't be prouder that they performed as a team and everyone showed that they are ready to help," said the Spaniard, who has brought to the star-studded Belgian set-up the kind of man management ideas he used to get the best out of more modest resources at Everton and Wigan Athletic in the Premier League.

"It was a moment to show maturity, it was a moment to show composure and real togetherness," he said of the halftime break when Jaime Penedo's clean sheet for Panama was testing nerves.

"I was very happy with the commitment of every single player," he said. "We need to grow. We grew in the second half and now we have to take it to the next game and grow into that." Agencies