Antonio Conte explains why Chelsea aren’t getting the best out of Romelu Lukaku yet and how Juventus can deal with him this evening.
It kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).
Lukaku was the top scorer for Inter when winning the Scudetto under Conte last term, finding the net 24 times in 36 Serie A appearances.
The coach had called him a ‘rough diamond’ when signing him originally from Manchester United, so has Lukaku now been sufficiently polished?
“A coach is good if he can improve players. I think we did great work with Romelu over two years,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.
“He is a very specific striker. Bringing Lukaku into the box, he is dangerous. However, when he starts from midfield, he is incredibly quick. It is very difficult to find a player who is both a target man, but can also run from midfield.
“These are also characteristics I can see in Erling Haaland. I had been tracking Lukaku for a very long time and wanted him when I was at Chelsea, even when he was at West Brom.”
Conte described more of how Lukaku uses his frame and strength to set up teammates just as much as go for goal himself.
“It’s a tactical situation too, a centre-forward who goes looking for the opposition defender, backs into him and lays it off for whoever is supporting him. That is a tactical approach used in basketball as well.
“The good thing about Romelu is that he can hurt you anywhere. If you keep him far away from the penalty area, he can kill you with his pace. If you have him in the box, he has the physicality to be a target man.”
Does Conte have any advice for Juventus on how to deal with Lukaku and Chelsea this evening?
“It depends on if Juve play with three at the back or four. I would always tackle him centrally.”
Fabio Capello is also a pundit on Sky Sport Italia and asked Conte in what areas does Lukaku still need to improve.
“I think he can still do better, above all with his technique. He is already at a very high level, but a player must keep improving until the day he retires.
“During the game, there are moments when Lukaku needs to be turned on, but other than that he is one of the toughest forwards to play against, because he can do damage in any area of the pitch. If you have a centre-forward like that, you need to use him and I don’t think Chelsea have quite figured out how to use him yet.
“Last season, they didn’t have a proper centre-forward, so they rotated positions, whereas Romelu is a real reference point in attack. If they can figure out how to use Lukaku, then Chelsea can become the team to beat in the Champions League this season.”
— FcInterNews.it (@FcInterNewsit) September 29, 2021