'Conte can give more than Mourinho' - Pirlo backs former Chelsea boss for Inter role

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The former Juventus star talked up his countryman for the Serie A club

Andrea Pirlo believes Antonio Conte can give more to Inter than Jose Mourinho amid growing speculation the former Chelsea boss is set to replace Luciano Spalletti.

Conte is reportedly poised to take over at Inter, despite head coach Spalletti securing Champions League qualification in back-to-back Serie A seasons via a fourth-place finish this term.

Former Inter coach Mourinho was linked with a return to the club, however, Pirlo – who played under Conte at Juventus – believes the ex-Italy boss is better suited to the Nerazzurri.

"In my opinion, Conte can give more than Mourinho, especially in terms of structure and agonism," Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.

"If he'd join Inter the fans will support the team, even more, they'll be closer to the players."

Talk of Conte's imminent arrival has seen Inter linked with Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, where Mourinho was sacked in December.

Conte was reportedly keen to sign Lukaku during his time at Chelsea before the Belgium international striker opted for United in a £75million deal in 2017.

Rumours regarding Lukaku come amid doubts over Inter forward Mauro Icardi, who was stripped of the captaincy in February.

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Icardi spent nearly two months out of the first team amid conflicting views of an apparent knee injury, with the Argentina international linked to Juventus, Napoli, Real Madrid and United.

"I don't think Mauro is a good striker for Conte's style," Pirlo added. "Conte wants strikers who can find good links with the rest of the team, strikers who bass the ball to each other and Icardi doesn't do it very often."

Inter topped Empoli 2-1 over the weekend, with Icardi missing what could have been a crucial penalty as his side barely held on to a Champions League spot at the expense of rivals AC Milan.

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