Lukaku hails rapport with Inter boss Conte after scoring Milan derby clincher

By Sports Desk September 21, 2019

Romelu Lukaku hailed his relationship with head coach Antonio Conte after scoring in Inter's 2-0 derby victory over city rivals AC Milan.

The former Manchester United striker discussed the extra motivation he has been given by Conte, who has guided Inter to four consecutive victories in Serie A.

Inter were comfortably the better side in Saturday's derby, Marcelo Brozovic's deflected effort early in the second half being followed up by Lukaku's impressive header 12 minutes from time, which led to a celebration between him and the ex-Chelsea boss.

Conte's men also hit the post on three occasions and found Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in inspired form on a night that could easily have produced more goals.

For Lukaku, the convincing win was a perfect answer to a poor Champions League draw against Slavia Prague on Tuesday.

"My relationship with Conte is very strong," Lukaku said to DAZN.

"He is a coach who really helps me. At the age of 26, I want a coach like this, who motivates and helps me every day.

"I am very happy to be here and to be working with him. This match is very important for us and we are pleased with the three points.

"The game with Slavia Prague was difficult, but we prepared well and gave a strong reply."

Conte, meanwhile, believes there is still much more for Lukaku to give, and he felt Inter's European struggles drove his team on.

"He is 26 years old and arrived here thanks to his potential," Conte said of Lukaku, who reportedly clashed with Brozovic in the dressing room on the night of the Slavia match.

"If we work with him properly, he can become extremely important. He can give even more and I told him that too.

"Brozo and Lukaku are exceptional lads and if anything, I get cross with them because they are too nice. They need to be more clinical on the pitch.

"Quarrels mean there is blood in the veins and a desire to improve. I've been a player, I've argued with team-mates many times and then gone out to dinner with them afterwards. It's not a big deal and they enjoy being together."

Conte added: "We were coming off a performance in the Champions League that left a bitter taste in the mouth and fired us up even more to go into the derby in the right way.

"The lads played a good game in every aspect. It's a deserved victory, I am happy for our fans, because derbies are special games and never easy to win.

"I am happy with our Serie A start, less so in the Champions League, but I do also believe that setback can help bring us back on to the right path.

"A commander can have his plans, but he needs the foot soldiers to go out and execute the orders, so I am fortunate to have very good, disciplined players."

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    Milan must take responsibility for their draw against 10-man Fiorentina, says Stefano Pioli, but the coach was convinced his side should not have had a late penalty awarded against them.

    Ante Rebic's goal put Milan ahead after 56 minutes in Saturday's Serie A clash, with Fiorentina's chances diminished further when Dalbert was sent off after a VAR check.

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    While Milan will leave Florence feeling hard done by, Cutrone – who clapped the travelling support after the game – insisted he had no intention to celebrate if he had been on spot-kick duties.

    "Milan will never be an opponent for me. I thank them for all they gave me and the applause at the end," Cutrone told DAZN.

    "I am happy with the point, I thank the Viola fans for their support and the Milan fans for their salute. If I had taken the penalty, I never would have celebrated because I respect Milan so much and I would never do that to them.

    "I have to thank Fiorentina for believing in me. I have to repay the club with performances and I hope many goals."

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