Romelu Lukaku struggled in Inter’s first defeat of the season at Lazio, but Simone Inzaghi was more concerned by the Nerazzurri’s inability to win without the talismanic forward at his best.
Lukaku has returned on loan to Inter, where he won the 2020-21 Serie A title, after a difficult year with Chelsea.
The forward swiftly appeared to have rediscovered his best form in Italy, scoring two minutes into his second Inter debut against Lecce and then teeing up a Lautaro Martinez goal at home to Spezia.
But Friday’s third match of the season at Lazio brought a reality check, with Lukaku scarcely troubling the capital club.
The Belgian attempted three shots – all with his head – but only one hit the target, and he did not create a single chance; his 19 touches were the fewest of any starter on either team.
Lukaku was substituted for Edin Dzeko in the 69th minute with the game level, yet Lazio went on to win 3-1.
“[Lukaku] had played the first two games in the best way,” Inzaghi told DAZN when quizzed on the change.
“More than looking at the changes, we have to analyse a lost game, a direct clash that hurts.
“We know that we have to do more in these games to win, beyond the condition of Lukaku or Lautaro.”
Martinez had equalised for the Nerazzurri early in the second half, but Inzaghi felt the game turned with a close-range Denzel Dumfries header that was saved just 88 seconds after that goal.
“The defeat stings for the way it happened,” the coach explained. “The match was balanced and hard fought against a quality opponent.
“Luis Alberto’s goal [Lazio’s second] broke the game; at 1-1, we had Dumfries’ chance that would have changed things.
“We had to show more nastiness on our side because these games are played in moments.”
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