Antonio Conte described Romelu Lukaku as a “gentle giant” after Inter’s record signing got off the mark on his Serie A debut in a 4-0 thumping of 10-man Lecce.
Lukaku and Stefano Sensi scored on their Inter bows on Monday, while Marcelo Brozovic and Antonio Candreva hit brilliant finishes to open and wrap up the scoring respectively.
The Belgium striker impressed with his high energy levels and sharp build-up play, although he prevented Matteo Politano from adding his name to the scoresheet by being caught offside.
Conte previously wanted to bring Lukaku to Chelsea during his time in charge at Stamford Bridge and he is enjoying finally getting to work with the former Manchester United man.
“Lukaku stepped into the Inter world in the best possible way, with great humility,” Conte told DAZN.
“He is a gentle giant, he always has a smile on his face. He is ready to work for the team and is at the disposal of his team-mates.
“I also want to highlight that Lautaro Martinez also played very well and everyone deserves praise.
“It was only the first game, so we can celebrate until midnight, but from tomorrow we have to start thinking about the next match with Cagliari.”
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Conte became only the third Inter coach to win his first Serie A game in charge by four goals, following club legends Giuseppe Meazza and Helenio Herrera into the history books as promoted Lecce – who had Diego Farias sent off at 3-0 – were put to the sword.
But perfectionist Conte still feels his side have plenty of room for improvement despite an impressive win sending them top of the table at the end of the opening round of games.
“We started with the right intensity and respected the idea of football that I wanted,” the former Juventus and Italy coach said.
“However, I did not appreciate at all the minutes after we went 2-0 up and I told the lads that. I wanted us to immediately get back on it and not be distracted, or think it was over.
“It was a good performance and you can see the ideas there. It’s an excellent result, because Lecce are a good team and there is always the risk of stumbling in these fixtures. We didn’t want that for us or our fans.
“We have some more steps to take, such as improving the mental consistency and focus, but I am very satisfied and it is a pleasure to work with these lads.
“This version of 3-5-2 is certainly a more attacking evolution of the old 4-2-4. I think that I have the men suited to this type of system and midfielders ready to push forward.
“We must not be a spark, we have to become dynamite.”