Conte demands more respect in Italy after Lukaku's racial abuse

By Sports Desk September 01, 2019

Antonio Conte demanded more respect and improvement in Italy after Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racial abuse in Inter's 2-1 win away to Cagliari.

Lukaku scored a penalty to preserve Inter's perfect start to the Serie A season but Sunday's victory was overshadowed by monkey chants aimed at the Belgian striker.

Racial chants could be heard as Lukaku stepped up to convert the 72nd-minute penalty, which secured all three points for Inter after Joao Pedro had cancelled out Lautaro Martinez's first-half opener.

It was another dark day for Italian football and Cagliari at the Sardegna Arena, where former Juventus striker Moise Kean endured similar chants last season.

After widespread condemnation and calls for Italian authorities to crack down, Inter head coach Conte told reporters: "We need to improve a great deal in Italy and be more respectful to people who are working, in general.

"When I was working abroad, the fans would cheer on their own team, not spend their entire time insulting the opponent."

Inter made it two wins from two games under Conte but the Nerazzurri were far from perfect on the road against Cagliari.

After routing Lecce in their Serie A opener, Inter were fortunate to claim victory following a contentious penalty call against Fabio Pisacane.

"It was a different game to the win against Lecce, as I had warned everyone this would be tough. Coming to Cagliari is never a walk in the park," Conte said.

"Let it be known, I am very demanding and there is a lot we need to do in order to improve, but I also say we are glad to have won in a difficult arena.

"Cagliari played their game and did it well, but this is a very important result, as it carries on from the performance against Lecce, but we should've 'killed' it more after conceding their equaliser. We did well to get back on top, but there's more we can do.

"This team was built to play with midfielders pushing forward into the channels, like Matias Vecino, Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini and Nicolo Barella."

While Diego Godin came off the bench to make his debut, Alexis Sanchez was an unused substitute following his loan move from Manchester United.

"Alexis Sanchez is an excellent player and he is in decent shape, but will go on international duty now and play only the first game with Chile against Argentina, put some minutes in his legs," Conte added. "We must get him back to the level he was at Udinese and Barcelona."

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