Lukaku: ‘Serie A is hard work’

Romelu Lukaku admits he did not expect Inter to be on the verge of Scudetto success already, while Antonio Conte’s staff won’t let him bench press weights.

The striker spoke to 433 in an Instagram Live chat, sitting pretty 11 points clear at the top of the Serie A table.

“I feel good, we are working really hard. There were lots of ups and downs last season, but there are a lot of young players in the squad, so I think taken another step forward. There are many games to go and we’re hungry to achieve our results.”

Lukaku was asked if he expected to be this far ahead of the chasing pack in mid-April.

“Honestly, no. I think Serie A is a really complicated league, you have to prepare for every single game and are always challenged. Every match is a different test. It all helps me become a better player, but it’s hard work.

“I think the defenders and goalkeeper are doing a great job, while we forwards also know that, if we don’t allow chances at the back, then sooner or later we’ll score a goal.

“Conte always says the striker is the first line of defence, so with Lautaro Martinez, Alexis Sanchez and Andrea Pinamonti, we all try to block the opposition from building out from the back. We make life difficult for them.

“I think all four of our strikers are very generous and the whole team benefits from that.”

While Lukaku is known for blowing past defenders with sheer power, he reveals the Nerazzurri don’t encourage him to get too muscular.

“When I was 15 years old, I could bench press 100kg, but I’m not really allowed to since I came to Italy. The first day I arrived, I tried to go on the weights, and our fitness coaches gave me a bad look.

“Basically, the only thing I’m allowed to do in the gym is co-ordination exercises with these elastic bands around my waist to find stability.”

It is a turning point for Inter, who even unveiled a new club logo and changed their name to Inter Milano.

“It’s part of the modernisation of Inter. I think last season we did really well and people had been waiting 10 years to see Inter at the top again. We reached the Europa League Final and I can’t wait to see this logo on the shirt next season.”