Jose Mourinho has said he did not allow Romelu Lukaku to take the penalty against Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday to “protect” him.
“I want him to take a penalty when there is no pressure, there is no responsibility and there is no need to score the goal.
“We are playing in the Champions League, we need points — even with 12 points we are not even qualified.
“It is an important moment in the game, 1-0, with 10 or 12 minutes to go, I want a player free of the pressure of missing the last one.”
Mourinho said he was “really happy with his personality, really happy that he wants to take the responsibility, but I’m here to sometimes to protect the players and protect the team.”
He said that he had needed “to protect him because he missed the last one.”
And he added: “I think I protect him because if he misses the penalty the team would be in the danger of a 1-0 result. It would be second consecutive miss for him.
“He will take a penalty when the game is over, and the game was not over.”
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