Leonardo: "Massive motivation for Europe"

LEONARDO: "MASSIVE MOTIVATION FOR EUROPE"

The Nerazzurri coach's words from his pre-match conference on the eve of the Bayern Munich game

APPIANO GENTILE - "This is a completely different moment and every game is a different story." That is how Leonardo opened his press conference on the eve of Inter's UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich, referring to last season's final in Madrid on 22 May.

"This team has its basic structure but every game offers a different challenge. Naturally I'll start with the fittest, most on-form players I have available. The league is one thing, the Champions League another. We have various options at our disposal, although fewer than we do in the league," replied the coach when asked about the starting line-up.

"Yes, I watched the final in Madrid. Which side was I supporting? Whatever I answer could be interpreted as insincere. But I was cheering on Inter; I was supporting the Italian team. It was satisfying to see Inter win that match," admitted Leonardo when asked who he had supported and how he felt last May.

Returning to the matter at hand, he said: "We've come through an energy-sapping period but we've recovered well and go into this Champions League game with massive motivation. What are Bayern Munich's strengths and weaknesses? Every team has them. Would I settle for a 3-2 win tomorrow? We know how it works in Europe. Unlike in the league, that wouldn't be the best result..." he added.

"I think Nagatomo has got better in each game he has played in: he is an important alternative," the coach replied to the Japanese journalists who asked about their compatriot - whom they have been following in every game since he arrived.

"Look, I've never gone into referees before and I hope I'll never have to. I'm not really interested and I think we should do things differently," was his answer when asked about the controversial refereeing decisions made at the weekend.

"The Champions League is a competition that brings together lots of great players and great teams with big ambitions; that means there is more tendency for teams to try and play their own game rather than just containing their opponents. The matches are more open. I like the more attacking mentality you find in the Champions League," revealed Leonardo, before adding that "This team are the reigning champions and they can beat anyone. We'll fight with all we've got: the team is capable of overcoming any difficulty and I take strength from that. We will approach the game as champions should."

"Inter and Bayern Munich are two sides with the resources to tackle whatever they come up against and they are evenly matched," Leonardo concluded.


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