The absence of striker Romelu Lukaku is affecting Inter not only in attack, but also in terms of their ability to remain solid defensively.

This is the view in today’s print edition of Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport, who argue that the 29-year-old’s absence is costing the Nerazzurri as much in their own half as it is at the other end of the pitch.

The impact of being without Lukaku on Inter’s attacking potency is relatively straightforward.

The team have felt the loss of the Belgian’s capacity to unlock matches in the final third on a few occasions this campaign, but in truth the attack has not been the most outstanding problem, as the team have not struggled for goals too much.

At the other end it’s a different story, as a lack of defensive compactness has meant that the Nerazzurri have conceded more goals away from home than any other team in Serie A.

However, Tuttosport argues, the absence of Lukaku is actually an important factor here.

With the Belgian in the team, Inter are able to spend portions of matches sitting back and absorbing pressure, with the Belgian offering a threat in behind that the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko simply don’t.

Moreover, opponents can build attacks more confidently and commit themselves in attack knowing that the threat of Lukaku to their backline is not present.