Antonio Conte slammed for bragging about Romelu Lukaku in dig at Chelseas Thomas Tuchel
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Former Chelsea defender Franck Leboeuf has taken aim at Antonio Conte for ‘bragging’ about how to squeeze the best performances out of Romelu Lukaku. The ex-Blues head coach has claimed that Lukaku is yet to produce his best football under Thomas Tuchel.
The Belgian striker sealed a blockbuster £97.5million transfer return to Chelsea in the summer after thriving under Conte at Inter Milan.
Lukaku has come back to the Premier League as one of the best elite strikers in world football. He was previously an inconsistent performer at Manchester United.
Conte guided Inter to their first Serie A title since 2010 last season and Lukaku was pivotal.
The 28-year-old scored 24 goals and was only pipped to the top-scorer gong by Cristiano Ronaldo. That followed 23 goals in the campaign prior.
Conte has been credited with developing Lukaku into a genuinely world-class striker and last week offered an analysis of how Thomas Tuchel can get the best out of the striker.
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Lukaku has scored four times since his summer move but there is certainly room for improvement.
“I don’t think Chelsea have quite figured out how to use him yet,” Conte said while working as a pundit for Italian TV during the Blues’ Champions League defeat by Juventus.
“He is a very specific striker. Bringing Lukaku into the box, he is dangerous. However, when he starts from midfield, he is incredibly quick.
“It is very difficult to find a player who is both a target man but can also run from midfield.”
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But former France international Leboeuf took a dim view of Conte’s words.
The 53-year-old believes the former Chelsea head coach, who helped the West Londoners win their last top-flight title in 2017, was taking a subtle dig at Tuchel.
Leboeuf told Conte that he should stop bragging about being able to get the best out of Lukaku.
“He was wrong to say it,” Leboeuf told ESPN.
“He was in a way bragging for me. It is bragging.
“He’s saying, ‘I did well, I was able to put Romelu Lukaku at his best,’ which is right, which is completely right and he did very well.
“But he’s saying, if you read between the lines, Tuchel doesn’t.
“And as a former coach of Chelsea, you should take a step back at some point and stop bragging.”
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