LEONARDO: "A TEAM WIN"

"With Pazzini Inter are 'crazier' than ever. And with these players anything is possible"

MILAN - "My pulse is still racing," began a grinning Leonardo as he commented on the incredible comeback win over Palermo. "It was a splendid match, truly splendid. I never thought we would lose: the team's reaction on the pitch after Palermo scored their goals, the reaction in the dressing room at half time, the optimism that fuels this team's spirit, they all gave me reason to believe. In the tunnel as we went in at half time Zanetti said 'We're going to win this game.' And so we did. But even if the result had been different I don't think we'd have been out of the title race. We struggled at the start; we were a bit slow but we still managed to create things. In the second half we showed our grit and character. Julio Cesar was declared fit at the last minute and he pulled off a fantastic penalty save, Pazzo came on and scored two, Milito on his return, Ranocchia and Lucio at the back... All of them were fantastic. Eto'o's work rate in the second half was extraordinary. When you have players like that, with the team spirit we've got, anything is possible. The team produced a fantastic performance out there today: it was a team win."

"You can analyse things and pick holes as much as you like, but I'd sign on the dotted line right now for every game to be like that. No matter what they find themselves up against, this Inter team are always able to dig deep and come up with something. Coming back to win this game is a great sign. Perhaps not even Pazzini could have dreamt of having a debut like that. Inter are even 'crazier' with him in the team. [The coach used a play on words: Pazzini's nickname 'Pazzo' also means 'crazy' in Italian.] We've got lots of options up front now - excellent players who all have different attributes. Pazzini did well today but so did the others. The strikers complement each other, and they work for each other too. Eto'o, for example, put in an exceptional shift for the team as we fought back."

"AC Milan are running away with the title? We just have to keep doing our own thing; there's a long way to go. But winning a game like this makes a big difference. And it was great to see the connection between the fans and players, the crowd's support even when we were two goals down. The players showing they believed in it just roused the fans even more. It was an incredible atmosphere."

When asked to compare Inter with his AC Milan side of last year, the coach replied: "This Inter team is full of character and talent, but you can't compare it to last year's Milan side. Different players, different type of football... Inter have always had a very strong character but the current team can also play very good football – exceptional football in the second half."

"Cambiasso? We'll take a look at him tomorrow. He'd already taken a blow to the same spot so when he got another one he asked to come off, but I don't think it's serious."

Leonardo was then asked again about all the goals Inter have been shipping: "It's true, we gave away a bit too much at the back, because we took a while to get settled again after conceding the early goal. But you can have balance even with an attacking side, as long as you score more goals then you let in. As I just said, what threw us off a bit in this game was conceding after four minutes. Against Napoli in the cup we were compact, we kept things tidy, and we didn't concede any."

When it was put to him that Santon seems to be struggling, the Nerazzurri coach said: "Santon is 20 years old; he has to mature. I substituted him because it was necessary at that point of the game; that's all. I needed Kharja in midfield. Santon and Coutinho were penalised by the scoreline, but we created a lot in the first half with them on the pitch too."

"We almost scored an own goal and then we went and found an equaliser? When you're in a fix, God gives you a break..."



Versione Italiana 

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