Conte compares Lukaku to NFL quarterback as Inter boss praises Hakimi

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Inter’s head coach Antonio Conte compared Romelu Lukaku to an NFL quarterback, while also praising two-goal hero Achraf Hakimi after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Bologna.

Conte’s Inter closed the gap with the leaders of Serie A and their rivals from the city, Milan, by two points thanks to Lukaku and winger Hakimi at San Siro.

Inter star Lukaku broke the deadlock in the 16th minute before Hakimi doubled the lead at the end of the break.

Emanuel Vignato’s goal in the 67th minute threatened to put things tense for Inter, but Hakimi’s second concluded the process as the Nerazzurri brought their tally to 26 goals in the first 10 Serie A games of the season by first time since 2009-10.

Conte praised fit forward Lukaku, who has scored eight goals in his first nine league appearances this season; The Belgian international has scored more than seven goals before the 11th game of the season for the first time in his career.

Lukaku has also scored in his first four Serie A home appearances in 2020-21, joining Christian Vieri as the only Inter players to achieve the feat in the league’s three-win era.

“I think it can still get stronger,” Conte told DAZN. “I described him as a diamond in the rough when he arrived and I felt the work would help him become one of the best forwards in the world.

“He’s on the right track as he has it all, the physique of a center forward, but also the pace and power of a football quarterback.

“He is doing well, he has understood what to do, he is humble and works for the team. I am very happy with him ”.

Hakimi, who arrived from LaLiga champion Real Madrid before this season after two successful seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, became the only Serie A defender this season to score at least two goals and provide two assists. .

“This boy is 20 years old and only spent two seasons in Dortmund, where he plays a much less tactical style of football. Haki is working hard, he has realized the difference between playing in Italy and Germany, where the opponents don’t study you as much, where they don’t identify your characteristics with such precision, ”Conte added.

“I think he is in the right team and with the right coach to become one of the best in the world in his role. It will take a lot of work, but I am very happy, because this kind of performance will increase your confidence, while past mistakes could have affected your self-confidence.

“You need a balance, it’s going to be a process, and I’m glad you got this personal satisfaction out of a corset.”

Christian Eriksen, who is in disgrace and heading for a January outing just a year after trading Tottenham for Inter, was a substitute in injury time against Bologna.

“My relationship with Christian is the same as that of all the other players. I will not tire of explaining that what I do and the decisions I make are for the good of Inter ”, Conte.

“The last thing I do is look at the player’s face, it’s about everything else. Eriksen is working and is at our disposal ”.

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