Romelu Lukaku was ‘bullied’ and ‘dominated’ by Nicolas Otamendi during Sunday’s Manchester derby, according to Alan Shearer.
Belgium international Lukaku struggled to make an impact for hosts United as goals from David Silva and Otamendi provided City with a record-breaking 14th successive Premier League victory.
Lukaku played a minor part in both of City’s goals and also wasted a glorious late chance as his close-range effort was saved by Ederson.
Despite scoring 11 goals in his first ten games for United, Lukaku has struggled of late and Shearer says he was ‘bullied’ by Argentine defender Otamendi.
‘I have some sympathy for Lukaku because of the number of long balls that were being pumped up to him, particularly in the first half when the distance between him and his midfield was huge,’ Shearer said in a column for BBC Sport.
‘Even if he had been able to bring the ball down and hold it up – which he wasn’t – it was asking a lot for him to do that for long enough for any support to arrive.
‘But he still could have done a lot better at leading the line because his general play was poor. He did not run the channels and he did not offer any movement behind the City defence.
‘On top of that, he was bullied by Otamendi throughout the game and was nowhere near strong enough when balls were played up to him.’
Shearer, the Premier League’s record goalscorer with 260 goals in 441 matches, added: ‘As a centre-forward, when you are going head-to-head with a centre-half like that, you want to know that you have come off at the end of the game having won your battle with him.
‘Sadly for Lukaku, Otamendi dominated him rather than the other way around.’
As well as setting a new record for the most successive league wins in a single season, City’s success also extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.
The City camp dismissed the suggestion that the title race was over after Sunday’s impressive display but Shearer cannot see them slipping up.
‘City have now won 14 league games in a row. That is an amazing achievement and they keep on showing how strong they are,’ the former England striker said.
‘They have quality right through their team and, when you look through their squad, they also have impressive strength in depth. That is another reason why I cannot see them falling away.
‘They are out in front for a reason, and I think they will stay there – the teams below them are playing for a place in the top four.’
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