Sunday February 28 2021
Ballardini: 'Lukaku a real leader'

Davide Ballardini explains his surprising decisions as Genoa lost 3-0 to Inter, why he sees the Nerazzurri as absolute ‘favourites’ and Romelu Lukaku as ‘a leader in every sense.’

The Grifone had only lost one Serie A game since Ballardini took over from Rolando Maran in late December, but the result was never in doubt at San Siro this afternoon.

“Genoa played our game in the first half and created dangerous situation, but after the break we weren’t as organised and didn’t put the right pressure on the ball. We could’ve done much better in the second half,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“I said beforehand that Inter were the best team in Serie A and I maintain that. They are also the favourites because they have no other commitments, so they can focus all their players on a single competition, something the other sides cannot afford to do right now.”

Romelu Lukaku scored the opener within 32 seconds, then set up the second for Matteo Darmian, before Alexis Sanchez added a third.

“Lukaku is a leader in every sense. I get the feeling he is an extraordinary young man, and on the field he sets the example with his hard work and commitment, not to mention his quality. He is a player who really makes the difference and not just with his physical performance, but the character he brings to the side.”

Genoa rotated their squad against Inter with seven changes from the side that drew with Hellas Verona, because the Derby della Lanterna with Sampdoria is coming up midweek.

“We evaluated fitness levels, players who were on yellow cards and others who struggle when having three games per week, so we did make our decisions today with an eye on the derby and the match next weekend too.

“There’s no guarantee it’s the right thing to do, but there was a thought process behind these decisions. Having said that, I still feel this Genoa could’ve picked up a result here, as we were in good shape.”