Eric Bailly backs Romelu Lukaku as Manchester United prepare to face Benfica

Eric Bailly backs Romelu Lukaku as Manchester United prepare to face Benfica

Bailly spoke alongside manager Jose Mourinho during Monday's pre-match press conference and effusively praised Lukaku.

Liam McMahon

On Monday afternoon, Manchester United defender Eric Bailly took to the podium alongside manager Jose Mourinho for United's pre-match press conference before hosting Benfica in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.

The Ivory Coast defender echoed his manager's statements about striker Romelu Lukaku, who got off to a phenomenal start for the Red Devils, but has now gone five games without scoring.

Lukaku an 'excellent player'

Mourinho spoke before Bailly, hitting out at fans he felt haven't treated Lukaku with respect during his first few months at Old Trafford, and claimed he is "untouchable."

Bailly backed up Mourinho's praise, stating Lukaku "is an excellent player." The defender backed Lukaku to get out of his scoring slump, attesting to just how difficult he is to play against.

"I've played against him and now I am fortunate to play with him," said Bailly. "Every player knows what kind of player he is and he's playing well and scoring goals. The most important thing is he carries on doing his job like a good centre forward."

Lukaku slowed down after quick start

After completing his £75 million move to United from Everton this summer, Lukaku hit the ground running immediately. He scored 11 times in his first nine appearances for the Reds before entering his current five-game goal drought. 

While Mourinho has hinted at deploying both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial together on Tuesday night against Benfica, should he feature that would be Lukaku's next chance to break his scoring duck. If not, he will have to wait and hope to do so this weekend against his former club, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge. This week is pivotal for the Red Devils, as they can all but book a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League and confirm their position at the front of the pack chasing Manchester City for the title.