Conte: ‘Lukaku and Lautaro can improve’

Antonio Conte believes Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku can improve and explains why it’s difficult to assess Stefano Sensi’s injury.

“I think Inter are slowly regaining an important European status,” Conte said ahead of Inter’s away Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk.

“The beautiful journey of the last season [in Europa League] gave us more experience. We must continue to talk about mentality, the desire to play the game and to defend forward. I think it is the right way.”

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez are sure starters up front for the Nerazzurri.

“I’m sure Romelu and Lautaro still have room for improvement. They can become even more important for the team but it’s vital to win something before making comparisons with other players.”

Inter faced the Ukrainians two months ago in Europa League and won 5-0.

“I think we can’t make comparisons because it was a game in which we were perfect,” Conte said.

“We were close to perfection in both phases and it will be important to repeat a very careful game from all points of view.

“Shakhtar are a strong team, with many Brazilians who are good tactically, technically and who are very quick.

“I never want to see passivity in the two phases. I want a team ready to attack the ball and create those situations that we’ve been working on during trainings.”

Shakhtar won the opening game of their Champions League group stage against Real Madrid last week.

“You don’t score three goals against Real Madrid without important values.  We hope to make a good game and put on the pitch what we have prepared,” Conte insisted.

“We’ve watched their games and Shakhtar have surely watched ours’. They are a strong team, a reality of European football.

“Praise to them because they can always find very strong players [on the market]. I remember when I faced them in Champions League with Juventus, they had very strong players that nobody knew: Willian, [Darijo] Srna, [Henrikh] Mkhytarian and Fernandinho. Today they still have valuable players.

Alexis Sanchez and Stefano Sensi will be out of action even if the exams that the Italian underwent have not highlighted any kind of injury.

“It’s difficult to know his recovery time,” Conte told Sky Sport after the press conference.

“There was nothing to see in the last exams but the player says he still feels something. We will do some extra checks, more in depth.

“Sanchez has only mild tiredness but it is right to make him recover. We won’t underestimate the problem he picked up during the International break.


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