Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku was instrumental in United's win over Chelsea on Sunday. Getty

Romelu Lukaku's has suffered from Manchester United's inability to move the ball forward from midfield, according to Alan Shearer.

Lukaku, 24, scored his 21st goal for United on Sunday [25 February] in a 2-1 victory over former club Chelsea, also providing the assist for Jesse Lingard's winning header in the second-half.

Despite an impressive return in his debut season for the club, which also includes seven assists, the Belgium international has seen his form questioned this term, with former United stalwart Gary Neville among those to suggest the former Everton star could lose his place up front to accommodate January signing Alexis Sanchez.

Shearer, the most prolific goal scorer in Premier League history, has defended his fellow striker, however, suggesting his problems stem from United's inability to get the ball up to their striker quickly enough, naming Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera as the two principle offenders.

"I do have a little bit of sympathy for him because sometimes with the way United play and the way Mourinho wants them to play with either Herrera in there or Matic, once the midfielder gets the ball, not always is there first thought, 'can I get the ball forward'," Shearer said on Match of the Day.

"Sometimes there first thought is, 'I will go to the left, or I will go back, or I might even go to the right. But if it were to happen more often and look forward first and play the ball forward, that makes it so much easier for a centre forward to cause problems."

Lukaku was named man of the match at Old Trafford on Sunday [25 February] as United opened up a six point lead on Antonio Conte's side and moved back into second place in the Premier League.

The striker firmly responded to some of his critics with that performance and told reporters post-match he feels he still isn't getting the respect he feels he deserves.

"I started playing when I was 16. Year in, year out people expect 20 goals from me. I've been doing it for 10 years straight, so I think I've proved myself," Lukaku said, Sky Sports report.

"You expect a bit more respect but it's the situation we're in. I don't listen to it. I just want to improve and show the people what I can do on the pitch."