Former Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte has taken a sly dig at Premier League side Chelsea, as well as manager Thomas Tuchel, for their failings to get star striker Romelu Lukaku firing on all cylinders.
Lukaku, 28, joined Chelsea, his former club, earlier this summer after making the decision to follow Conte out of the Inter Milan exit.
The Belgium international’s £103.5m switch to Chelsea saw him become the player with the highest accumulative transfer fees, in the history of the sport.
However, despite the 28-year-old’s eye-watering transfer, there are some question marks over whether or not he is performing to his best for the Blues.
One person who has weighed in on Lukaku’s form since his arrival in London is Conte, who, while speaking to Sky Italia, lifted the lid on what is required to get the best out of the striker.
“I think he can still do better,” the ex-Inter Milan boss said. “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.”
Going on to address his own success while working with Lukaku, Conte, who has lifted silverware in England, including at Chelsea, as well as in Italy, said: “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.
“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.”