Didier Drogba, a former Chelsea striker, has defended Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku after he missed several chances that cost his country a place in the World Cup’s last 16.
The Red Devils had a miserable tournament, culminating in Thursday’s 0-0 draw against Croatia, which saw Roberto Martinez’s side eliminated early.
Lukaku, whose career is in limbo after being loaned back to Inter from Chelsea in the summer after a nightmare season at Stamford Bridge, was called up from the substitutes bench at the start of the second half.
Lukaku left the pitch in floods of tears at the end of 90 minutes and was consoled by assistant coach Thierry Henry, before breaking a glass panel in the dugout with his fist as he lashed out in frustration.
Drogba, one of Lukaku’s idols during his first spell in west London, felt sympathy for his former teammate and refused to single out the striker for criticism.
He told the BBC: ‘We all did (felt sorry for Lukaku) but we cannot put the blame on someone who has been injured the last two months, he comes on for 30 minutes and you want him to win the game.
‘As a striker he should have been a bit more on his toes but it’s very difficult to blame him for this.’
Lukaku’s first miss was, arguably, his worst when he struck the inside of the post from just seven yards with the goalkeeper way out of position, but again Drogba sympathised.