Ex-Nerazzurri Coach Antonio Conte: “Romelu Lukaku Improved A Lot With Me At Inter”

Ex-Nerazzurri Coach Antonio Conte: “Romelu Lukaku Improved A Lot With Me At Inter”
September 29, 2021 22:00
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Former Inter coach Antonio Conte believes that striker Romelu Lukaku made major improvements to his game while the pair were working together at the Nerazzurri.

Speaking to Italian broadcaster Sky Sport Italia, the former coach reflected on the growth made by the Belgian striker during his two seasons with Inter, as well as giving his thoughts on the Nerazzurri’s Champions League draw against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Lukaku joined Inter in the summer of 2019, the same summer in which Conte took over at the club, and the pair immediately struck up a good working relationship.

The Belgian had reportedly been a target for Chelsea when the Italian was in charge at Stamford Bridge, and as he reveals, was also a player he had wanted to sign while at Juventus.

He also had words on the Champions League draw against Shakhtar, which he felt that his former club had chances to win.

“It was a balanced match,” he said. “Shakhtar had more possession but Inter, at the end of the match, had the better chances. The Ukrainians did well despite their structural disadvantages from Inter – in the return Inter must be good at taking advantage of set pieces, such as the situation of the corner from which Dzeko’s opportunity came about.”

He went on, “Inter is a team that likes to have the ball, but suffers when not in possession. They will show their quality in the two games against Sheriff, who were supposed to be this year’s Cinderella story but have surprised. They have been wild cards, as happened with Shakhtar in last year’s group who beat Real twice.”

Of Lukaku he said, “I think that the skill of a good coach is to improve their players, and I have made an important journey with him at the Inter.”

“Getting Lukaku into the box is a danger,” he went on, “it is good to keep him away. It is difficult to find a player who acts as a point of reference and who gets forward with pace from midfield. He is a generous, someone who also gives you assists. This is Lukaku’s specificity, which I also see in Haaland – that’s why I strongly wanted him in Milan.”

He went on, “I also wanted him when I was Juventus manager, long before I became manager of Chelsea. He still has room for technical improvement, but he has already reached very high levels.”

“He can improve in some phases of the game” Conte said, “he needs to be more aware sometimes. He is impressive, he is one of the most difficult forwards to face – he must always play, but Chelsea have not quite understood how to use him. If they understand, Chelsea will become the team to beat.”

By Toni Weeler

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