Ex-Inter Striker Nicola Ventola: “Never Seen Romelu Lukaku Struggle Like Against Juventus”

February 11, 2021 18:00
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Romelu Lukaku produced arguably his worst performance in an Inter shirt during Tuesday’s Coppa Italia draw at Juventus, former Nerazzurri striker Nicola Ventola has suggested.

Lukaku has been a talisman for Antonio Conte’s side since his arrival from Manchester United in 2019 but was largely ineffectual during their semi-final second leg at the Allianz Stadium, where Inter were knocked out following a goalless draw.

A report in Thursday’s papers argued the Belgian striker was in need of a rest but admitted that Conte couldn’t afford to leave him out of the Nerazzurri’s upcoming matches.

“I’ve never seen Lukaku struggle as much as he did against Juve,” Ventola explained on Bobo TV today, the Twitch channel of legendary Inter striker Christian Vieri.

“Merih Demiral and Mattihjs de Ligt played very well.

“From a defensive point of view, Juve had a great game.

“In my opinion, Andrea Pirlo had his team play in the manner they did because they knew they could manage their 2-1 advantage from the first leg.

“Juventus did run a risk when Gigi Buffon came out poorly a couple of times, Lautaro Martinez could have scored for instance.

“The best saves on the night though came from Samir Handanovic.”

Ventola was not surprised to see such a turgid affair in midweek, especially given Conte’s decision to revert to last year’s solid system earlier this season.

“Conte at first tried to change the way his side were playing but he then returned to playing it safe by going back to the 3-5-2,” he explained.

“Inter were very attacking at the start of the season but they were conceding a lot of goals.”

Ventola, who had two separate spells with Inter, made a total of 64 appearances, in which he scored 21 goals and provided two assists for his teammates.

Inter must now focus on their bid to win the Serie A title after Tuesday’s elimination, with in-form Lazio their next league opponents at San Siro on Sunday.

By Cammy Anderson

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