Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez showed superb in-game intelligence vs Napoli


Romelu Lukaku's revival at Inter Milan has been remarkable.

The Belgian's quality was perhaps overlooked at Manchester United despite him scoring 42 goals in his two seasons at Old Trafford. 

There was always a feeling he didn't quite fit the Red Devils' system, so much so that they didn't even bother replacing him when he left in the summer. 

Five months on, there can be no denying who the real winner was from their decision to part ways. 

Lukaku has been on fire in Milan, taking his goal tally for the season to 16 in the 3-1 win away to Napoli - Inter's first victory at the San Paolo for 23 years. 

The 26-year-old scored a brace in the first half, with Lautaro Martinez adding Inter's third in the second half. 

That's a combined 16 away goals the pair have now scored this term, which is more than any other partnership in Europe's top five leagues have managed on the road. 

Lukaku and Martinez really do seem to flourish off a telepathic partnership and that was epitomised by the Nerazzurri's first goal. 

It was Lukaku who initially picked the ball up on the counter-attack after some sloppy play by Napoli. 

The striker then overlapped with Martinez, pointing into the space where he wanted his partner to run. 

That attracted Napoli's defence over towards the Argentine, creating space for Lukaku to run into and seal it off with a brilliant finish. 

Both players deserve credit for working so well to engineer the move. Martinez has essentially assisted him without even touching the ball. 

As for Lukaku, it sums up the kind of in-game intelligence which has made him such a success in Serie A. 

His manager, Antonio Conte, certainly believes so and he defended him from criticism after the game. 

"I heard people say Lukaku was a donkey," Conte said, via the Daily Mail.

"I heard all sorts not even that long ago! It's easy to speak highly of Lukaku now, but if we look back to a few weeks ago…

SSC Napoli v FC Internazionale - Serie A

"I always said Romelu was a rough diamond that needed work to smooth him out. Lautaro Martinez is the same. These lads are 26 and 22 years old, they are still young.

"I wanted Romelu very strongly when I was at Chelsea, even back at Juventus. I wanted him, now I can get to work on polishing the diamond."

That is exactly what Inter have done. Lukaku was far from a raw talent when he arrived at the San Siro but the club have nurtured him, and his partnership with Martinez has seen him go from strength to strength. 

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