​​Inter Milan manager, Antonio Conte has defended signing striker Romelu Lukaku from ​Manchester United in the summer, claiming that, "I wanted Romelu very strongly when I was at Chelsea, even back at Juventus".

Despite the criticisim aimed at Lukaku, he has been an inspired signing from Conte, netting 16 goals in all competitions, of which 14 have come in the ​Serie A, helping the club move to the top of the league table, above rivals ​Juventus on goal difference.

Conte for his part is not impressed by the criticism aimed at his star striker, insisting that he always wanted to sign the Belgian at his former clubs and that he is still a diamond in the rough.

"I heard people say Lukaku was a donkey… 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… 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," he said post ​Inter's 3-1 win over Napoli on Monday.

"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."

Many seem to forget that Lukaku is only 26-years-old and there is no doubt that he will only improve under the Italian master in the future.