While reflecting on Romelu Lukaku’s four-match goal drought, Antonio Conte claims Chelsea are not properly using the striker’s qualities.
Romelu Lukaku has had an indifferent career so far. After largely mixed bag spells in England with Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United, the Belgian became an unstoppable force since joining Inter Milan, helping the club win the Serie A title.
Eyebrows were raised this summer when Chelsea decided to splash £97.5 million to re-sign the 28-year-old striker. Lukaku seemed like a different player altogether, taking the Premier League by storm, scoring four goals in as many games since joining. However, the Belgian has gone four games without a goal, and fans are starting to worry.
His latest blank came against Juventus in the Champions League game in Turin, as Chelsea narrowly lost the contest. After showing glimpses of his form during his time in Italy, Lukaku seemingly leans towards his old self in the Premier League.
However, former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes the club are not using Lukaku properly. Speaking to Sky Sports Italy after the game, Conte was keen on advising the Blues and Thomas Tuchel how to get the best out of the Belgian striker, having worked together for the last two years. Goal.com posted the former manager’s comments.
Conte said, “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.”
Conte further spoke about how important it will be from a coach’s point of view to develop the game of a player such as Lukaku. He explains why it’s important to tweak systems or tactics to suit the preferences of such a striker. “A coach is good if he can improve players. I think we did great work with Romelu over two years,” he said.
“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.”