Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 November 2020

Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Conte enjoy dynamite Inter Milan debuts - in pictures

Inter exploded out of the blocks with a 4-0 win over promoted club Lecce with the Belgian forward scoring Inter's third goal

Romelu Lukaku went some way to endearing himself to his new employers with his first goal in Inter Milan colours before bowing to supporters at the San Siro.

Inter exploded out of the blocks with a 4-0 win over promoted club Lecce with the Belgian forward scoring Inter's third goal on Monday.

Lukaku, 26, moved to Inter from Manchester United for €70 million (Dh285.5m) earlier this month and paid back the first instalment with a simple tap-in following an error by Lecce goalkeeper Gabriel.

The former Chelsea and Everton striker turned and took a bow in front of the jubilant Inter fans among the 65,000 crowd, a gesture his manager said would endear him to the Nerazzurri faithful.

"Lukaku entered the world of Inter in the best way, with great humility," said Antonio Conte, who was taking charge of his first Serie A match in five years.

"He's a gentle giant, a giant with a smile. He is ready to work for the team. But not only Romelu, Lautaro [Martinez] also played very well."

Croatian Marcelo Brozovic opened the scoring after 21 minutes with a powerful strike before on-loan Stefano Sensi added a second three minutes later.

Lecce played the last quarter of an hour a man down after Brazilian Diego Farias saw red in his first game for a studs-on tackle on his former Cagliari teammate Nicolo Barella.

Antonio Candreva blasted in the fourth goal on 84 minutes, allowing Inter to match champions Juventus and runners-up Napoli who both won their opening league matches at the weekend.

Though still too early to think about denying Juventus a ninth straight title, a 4-0 home win sees them sit top of Serie A and will have Inter fans daring to dream that a first scudetto since 2010 could be on the cards under Conte.

The former Italy manager gave a mixed response to his team's performance, however.

"There was a spark, but now we must become dynamite," Conte said.

"We started off well with the right intensity and desire, respecting the idea of what I wanted.

"Then at 2-0 I didn't like what I saw from the lads. Too relaxed; losing intensity under pressure.

"We need to improve both mentally and physically but I am very happy and satisfied. I like working with these guys who have always shown great commitment.

"Let's celebrate until midnight. From tomorrow, we think of Cagliari; it will be a difficult trip," he added of next weekend's game in Sardinia.

One itch that refuses to go away is the question over former Inter captain Mauro Icardi's future, with the Argentine striker not even named among the substitutes by Conte.

Inter director Giuseppe Marotta insisted there was no room in the club for the forward, with the transfer window closing on September 2.

Despite a series of falling-outs with the club hierarchy, Icardi rejected moves away from the San Siro despite being frozen out of the team and stripped of the captain's armband last season amid a protracted contract dispute.

Icardi's wife Wanda Nara, who is also his agent, said he wants to remain at Inter and had been told to stay by senior club bosses, something vehemently denied by Marotta.

"We greeted Wanda Nara's comments with a bit of irritation, both for the timing and the method," Marotta told sports broadcaster DAZN before Monday's game.

"I absolutely deny that any of the club management, and in particular [president] Steven Zhang, have invited Icardi to stay."

Updated: August 27, 2019 03:26 PM

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