23:00 19th May 2013
And striker delighted to sign-off as Albion record breaker
HAT-TRICK hero Romelu Lukaku paid tribute to the Albion fans for bringing the best out of him after signing-off his Hawthorns stay in style against champions Manchester United.
The on-loan Chelsea hitman came off the bench at half-time to fire a sensational second-half treble in today’s breathtaking 5-5 draw with United.
He followed in the footsteps of Robert Earnshaw, Somen Tchoyi and Peter Odemwingie to become only the fourth Albion player to fire a Barclays Premier League hat-trick - which also proved to be a perfect one.
And it blasted him past Odemwingie’s 15-goal club record by two for most Premier League goals in a season.
Lukaku said: “After last year a lot of people doubted me but I kept believing in my qualities, worked hard and - with the help of the fans and this club - I just couldn’t fail here.
“I want to thank the fans for all the support they have given me.
“From day one I have felt at home – I felt like I was back in Brussels.
“That’s why I have performed so well.
“They have helped me through the good and the bad days.
“They have always been behind me and I want to thank them.
“I’ve enjoyed myself and I hope the fans enjoyed me.”
He added: “It was a very special day - it’s a good way to end the season.
“It was a special day and to give such a performance made it a good day for the neutral.
“I’ve been part of the family from the first day I’ve been here.
“I was really convinced the team would have a good season.
“I have just worked hard from day one until the last day.
“I’ve had a great season and now I want to do better.
“It’s been wonderful to be here.
“I’ve learned a lot, scored a lot of goals, and improved on a lot of things.”
The 20-year-old hitman also became only the third player – alongside David Bentley and Dirk Kuyt - in Premier League history to notch a treble against the Red Devils.
And he dedicated his goals to his parents as he walked off with the matchball signed by his Baggies team-mates.
“I’m one of the lucky ones who has scored a hat-trick against Manchester United,” he said.
“But it was a great team performance and, as a striker, to score three goals against Manchester United is a dream come true.
“It was a great feeling to make it 5-5 – but I wanted a sixth.
“I was just happy I got the first hat-trick of my professional career but then I was focused on trying to get a sixth goal to finish the season with a win.
“It didn’t quite happen.
“But to come back from 5-2 down and draw 5-5 with the champions is a great result.
“The matchball will go in my parents’ bedroom and I want to dedicate those goals to them.
“My parents have always supported me so it goes in their bedroom along with all my shirts and stuff.”