Leonardo: "We're aware of our strength"

LEONARDO: "WE'RE AWARE OF OUR STRENGTH"

The coach's comments from the pre-match conference at the Meazza stadium ahead of Inter v Napoli

APPIANO GENTILE - "The last few days have been very useful, though the time has been short. It's always different when you have to start mid-season, but this team already knows how to play. It's been good to get to know the lads better and everyone has done everything they can to help me, also because they know there's not much time: we've got a huge game tomorrow. The players have shown a fantastic attitude in training. We're focused on Napoli because it's a key fixture: we're playing against the team that lies second in the league. And we're ready for it." Those were Leonardo's opening words at the press conference ahead of Inter v Napoli, the Week 18 Serie A 2010/11 fixture that will be his first game in charge of the Nerazzurri.

"How do I feel? I'm just living the moment," continued Leonardo. "The team is the most important thing so I'm trying to concentrate on that. I'm very open towards the players, also emotionally speaking. The atmosphere is also important and Appiano is a fantastic place to be in that sense."

When asked about the comments made by Berlusconi, his president at AC Milan, Leonardo replied: "I think that's all sorted out now. I thank him for his wishes and wish him the best too."

The topic then turned to tomorrow's game: "Napoli are a team that play with a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and they have their own playing style. But the same is true of Inter. This could be a key game, but with the quality we have here we're ready for it. I feel this team has its own identity, so there's no need to invent anything. We also have lots of good alternatives."

"Julio Cesar's injury came as a surprise, but he didn't have an easy year. Castellazzi is a more than adequate stand-in. Alternatives are often determined by the situation. Tomorrow, for example, we're without Sneijder and Eto'o. Will we play a diamond formation? Calling it a diamond, or using numbers to describe the line-up, is just a way of putting labels on things."

"We'll focus on one match at a time. We have games and points to make up, but you always have to take each game as it comes. I've been getting a good feeling off the team and we'll put everything into tomorrow's game, which is the most important one at the moment. We'll make the best use of the resources we've got. I'm not thinking about the transfer market or anything else, just tomorrow's game."

Leonardo was then asked specifically about the rumours saying he's interested in Ronaldinho: "Yeah, I read those too but let's not go into that rubbish... (he smiles) Lots of things are being written at the moment. I haven't spoken to Ronaldinho, but in any case Inter already have their set-up here that deals with transfers, and if you look at the work Marco Branca and Piero Ausilio have done, it's fantastic. All the way through the club: from Rapetti to Combi, Baresi to Bernazzani, there are people that give you immediate answers."

"I'm happy to be back and I'm happy about this positive start; I'm very motivated and I feel good. This team has to be aware of its strength. What Inter have done is incredible: they've been winning non-stop for five years, and last year was the crowning achievement. But they mustn't rest on their laurels; we have to push on, and if you feel good everything is that much easier. This side must go onto the pitch aware of the fact that they are the best, but they also have to make sure they keep proving that. There's plenty of desire left in this team."

"What's the pecking order in defence? The pecking order is that whoever is in best shape plays," explained Leonardo.

"The AC Milan fans were upset? Of course that means something to me; it's not true that I don't care. But I'm serene about the choice I made. And with that serenity I respect and accept everybody's opinion, be it positive or negative."

"Kakà's return from injury? It's never easy to come back from an injury like that, but I'm sure he'll soon be back to his best," was the coach's reply when asked whether he had seen the Brazilian on his return to the Real Madrid team.

Finally, a word on injuries: "The first thing you need to stop injuries happening is not to be afraid they will happen. And we're not afraid of injuries."


Versione Italiana 

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