Conte: ‘Lukaku could play American Football’

In the second part of his interview with Il Corriere della Sera, Antonio Conte says Romelu Lukaku could ‘play American football’ and explains why his tactical system is one of the most offensive.

“I took inspiration from non-professional coaches rather than those who studied at Coverciano,” the Inter tactician said.

“At the beginning of my career, I used a 4-2-4 system. Then I switched to a three-man defence, it’s more offensive because you can attack with five players.

“When I moved to Chelsea I used a 4-2-4, but I had to change because Hazard, Willian and Pedro struggled to cope with defensive duties on the flanks. Again, I switched to a three-man defence. The idea must be adapted to the players. I see football as a scholar: reshaping ideas makes the difference between coaches.”

Many say Romelu Lukaku is unstoppable, but only if he has space in front of him. Does Conte agree?

“It’s too easy to say that. I wish Lukaku and Lautaro were given more space inside the box. I don’t think it’s a good thing for defenders. Lukaku is an atypical player, he is a speedy centre forward, he could play American Football.”

Some fans wanted him to sacked after Inter were eliminated from the Champions League.

“An opponent would have pushed for Conte to be kicked out of Inter,” he said.

“As an opponent, I would want to kill my enemy sportily. Sending me away would have facilitated others.

“It’s hard to change that mental chip,” he continued.

“If you don’t win for 10 years, you subconsciously get used to the situation, look for excuses or blame someone else, you don’t see your limitations or flaws.

“The environment is imbued with this. It is important to work not only on the players but on every sector.

“This is the difference between winning and living peacefully. There are many good coaches: I think of Luciano Spalletti, for example. He’s an excellent tactician.

“The problem is to break certain balances to steer the boat where they asked you to take it even if someone can regret having chosen you.

“I give everything to my club. I have passion, and passion makes the difference.

“A coach is happy when a project lasts long. If you must leave after a short while, it leaves bitterness. Making your mark and staying for many years is the most beautiful thing. I wish there were continuity in everything.”