Koeman baffled by criticism of Lukaku

Everton striker failed to shine in the Merseyside derby

Everton, Romelu Lukaku

Everton's Romelu Lukaku. Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has defended Romelu Lukaku's performance in the Merseyside derby.

The Premier League's top scorer had a limited impact as his side lost 3-1 to Liverpool on Saturday to all but end their outside chance of making it into the Top Four places.

Koeman says it is unfair for him to be criticised after one bad day at the office.

"Lukaku is the top scorer of the league. Why now after the Liverpool game do we have to criticise Rom?" said the Dutchman.

"He’s a great striker. He’s working hard. He’s a human boy. It’s not always a 10. That’s football. If you don’t play football, maybe you don’t understand.

"OK. Maybe some players didn’t perform at the level they showed in the last few games. With Romelu, it was difficult. I spoke to Romelu. He was not really sharp, he was tired.

"That can influence the performance of the player."

Everton will look to bounce back in the Premier League when they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Tuesday night.

The Toffees are seventh in the table, with Lukaku having fired 21 of their 52 league goals this season. The Belgian has also provided six assists for team-mates.