Antonio Conte delivers verdict on Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea FC
Antonio Conte explains how Thomas Tuchel can help to bring the best out of Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea FC
Antonio Conte believes that Chelsea FC can become the team to beat in the Champions League this season if they can get the best out of Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian striker drew another blank for the Blues on Wednesday night as Chelsea FC were beaten 1-0 by Juventus in the Champions League in Turin following Federico Chiesa’s second-half goal.
Lukaku has now failed to score in his last four appearances for the Blues in all competitions after he initially made a strong start to the season by netting four goals in four games for the south west London side.
The 28-year-old is getting used to life back at Stamford Bridge after he signed for the Blues from Inter Milan in a big-money deal in the summer transfer window.
Former Chelsea FC boss Conte feels that Thomas Tuchel has not “quite figured out” how to use Lukaku in his team yet, but he feels that the Belgian can lift the whole team once he finds his feet.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, as quoted by TEAMtalk, 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 – who coached the Belgian forward during his two-year spell at Inter Milan – went on to discuss how Tuchel can help to bring the best out of Lukaku at Stamford Bridge.
“A coach is good if he can improve players. I think we did great work with Romelu over two years,” he continued.
“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.
“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.”
Chelsea FC are back in Premier League action on Saturday afternoon when they host Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have suffered something of a dip in form in recent games after a strong start, with Tuchel’s side having lost their last two games in all competitions against Manchester City and Juventus.