Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says the London club are yet to understand how to deploy big-money summer signing Romelu Lukaku, as the Belgian saw his goal drought continue in the Champions League loss at Juventus.
Despite dominating the possession, the defending European Champions were only able to land one shot on target and ultimately lost to a Federico Chiesa goal just 10 seconds into the second half which gave the hosts the win and was the fastest recorded goal ever scored in a second half of a Champions League game.
45:10 – Federico Chiesa has given Juventus the lead just 10 seconds into the second half against Chelsea, the earliest second half goal Opta have on record in a Champions League match (since 2003-04). Sleeping. pic.twitter.com/Gdbalsift5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 29, 2021
Lukaku’s last goal came against Zenit St. Petersburg on match day one in the Champions League and the big forward has since failed to score against Tottenham, Manchester City, Aston Villa, and now Juventus.
This run of fixtures have led some to go back to the old cliché of the Belgian star failing to score in big games against higher quality opponents, something which was often used to criticize him with while at Manchester United.
Speaking prior to last night’s game, the former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke about how to get the best out of Lukaku.
“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,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia, according to Football Italia.
Conte signed Lukaku for Inter Milan and together the pair won Serie A last season, ending Inter’s 11-year wait to regain the Scudetto.
Despite Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich paying £97.5 million ($131 million) to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, Conte believes Chelsea don’t yet know how best to use Lukaku and thinks both club and player can 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,” said the Italian.
“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.”
Romelu Lukaku has scored 4 goals for Chelsea this season from just 8 shots on target.
Play to his strengths, and watch him do the rest. Don’t doubt him. pic.twitter.com/fuLV4g9uLw
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) September 30, 2021
Chelsea’s next game before the international break is at home against Southampton on Saturday in the Premier League, where the expectation will be on Lukaku to get back on the score sheet, before he links up with Belgium back in Turin for the UEFA Nations League semi-final against France.