Antonio Conte: Romelu Lukaku not used properly by Chelsea

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Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea scores their side's first goal past Bernd Leno of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on August 22, 2021 in London, England
Photo: Shaun Botterill/GETTY IMAGES

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has explained why the Blues aren't getting the best out of Romelu Lukaku yet.

The Belgium international striker played under Conte for two years at Inter Milan, where he was the top scorer when the Nerazzurri winning the Scudetto last term.

Since then, Lukaku rejoined Chelsea for a second spell during the summer transfer window in a £97.5 million deal.

The 28-year-old hit the ground running in West London with four goals in his first four appearances, but has since gone four games without finding the target.

Speaking as a pundit on Sky Italia, Conte claimed that Thomas Tuchel has been misusing the former Manchester United hitman.

A coach is good if he can improve players. I think we did great work with Romelu over two years.

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.

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.

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.

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