Inter’s Lukaku hitting his stride ahead of home stretch, says Inzaghi

May 15, 2023 _ (Reuters) – Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has entered the final month of the season in the “best possible way”, manager Simone Inzaghi said on Monday ahead of the return leg of their Champions League semi-final tie against rivals AC Milan.

Lukaku, on loan at Inter from Chelsea, has struggled with injuries and form this season, but has scored three goals in his last three games.

Asked if the Belgian had returned to the level he had displayed during his first spell at Inter – during which he scored 64 goals in two seasons and won the Serie A title – Inzaghi told reporters: “You know him, you know what he can do.

“That’s what we expected during the year, unfortunately something unforeseen happened to both him and (Marcelo) Brozovic that took away two players who were indispensable for so many months.

“I can think of important games played without them, but what you see is a Lukaku who arrived at the last month in the best possible way.”

However, Inzaghi added that there are still some doubts over the 30-year-old’s fitness, saying, “three games a week at the moment, I don’t even know if he can manage them…”

Inter have a 2-0 lead over Milan ahead of the second leg at the San Siro on Tuesday as they look to reach the final for the first time since they were crowned European champions in 2010.

The Italian side had a similar lead heading into their quarter-final second leg against Benfica, and Inzaghi said his message to his players was the same as it had been ahead of last month’s tie.

“I said it before Benfica, it will take a cool head and a warm heart. I will be repetitive, but it’s the only way for matches like this,” Inzaghi added.

“Tomorrow we know it’s one of the most important games in Inter’s history. Tomorrow we know we have an advantage, deservedly so, but we won’t just have to manage it. We’ll have to play as Inter, knowing that we have a strong team in front of us.

“We know we are 90 minutes away from a dream, which I and these wonderful guys had.”

Inzaghi added that forward Joaquin Correa, who was taken off at halftime during Inter’s 4-2 win over Sassuolo on Saturday, could return for Tuesday’s match.

“Correa asked for a change, I wouldn’t have taken him off because he was satisfying me,” Inzaghi said.

“Hopefully it’s nothing serious, the sensations are good but we’ll evaluate in today’s training. He should make it but I have no certainties.”

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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