Inter CEO Beppe Marotta feels that it’s only natural that striker Romelu Lukaku has had some physical issues since his return from Chelsea on loan at the start of this season.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster Sky Sport Italia ahead of this evening’s Champions League round of sixteen clash, via FCInterNews, the Nerazzurri CEO spoke about the Belgian’s fitness and injury struggles.
Lukaku has spent a good chunk of the season so far dealing with long-term muscle injuries, whilst even when he has been fit and available, he has not always looked at his best.
There has been worry that, despite some positive signs in recent matches, the 29-year-old will not be able to recapture anything like his best form, whilst he is not in the starting eleven this evening against Porto.
However, for his part, Marotta feels confident that Lukaku’s situation will be dealt with in the best way possible by everyone at the club, and in particular coach Simone Inzaghi.
“It has to be said that he’s someone who’s carrying around 103 kilograms, so it’s natural that he’ll have some ups and downs physically speaking,” he said.
“Now he’s recovering, and I think the coach is the only one who’s in a position to evaluate his form and the best way to use him,” he went on.
“In my view, the players on the bench are as important as the players who start, and have to be ready to make a contribution,” he added.
“I have to add that all of this is also partly conditioned by the unusual season we’re having with the winter World Cup, the break for that tournament was a big ask for Lukaku both from a physical and a psychological standpoint,” the CEO said.
“He had been dealing with injuries, but participated in the World Cup almost hoping to be something extra for his team,” he added.
Marotta said of Lukaku that “He’s an absolutely consummate professional and he’s giving his all.”
“I know that he hasn’t contributed what we expected from him so far this season, but we’re confident that he’ll have his say in the final months of the season.”
Of this evening’s match, Marotta said that “All the teams who have made it this far are of a top European calibre.”
“Certainly this match against Porto will be an important test for us, they have eliminated other top Italian teams recently, and we’re hoping that they won’t be successful against us.”
“Beyond this, we’ve prepared for the match in the best way possible, we’re ready and motivated and I’m sure we’ll play an excellent match,” Marotta continued.
Of the fact that the Nerazzurri seem to be doing better in cup competitions than in the league this season, Marotta noted that “I think it shows that our approach is the right one, we’re proving it in the biggest matches.”
“We have to grow in terms of consistency as you mentioned, though, it’s a problem for us and we have to prove ourselves in Italy just like in Europe.”