Leonardo triumphs on return

MILAN - Leonardo wandered back into the San Siro for the first time since May and although he was in the opposite dugout it was like the Brazilian had never been away.

Inter Milan's first outing under his stewardship showed remarkable similarities to many of the performances rivals AC Milan managed while he was their coach last season.

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Quality goals, shaky defences and open games summed up his campaign with the Rossoneri and the only big difference in Inter's 3-1 win over third-placed Napoli on Thursday was the blue stripes on the shirts instead of red.

"It's a very particular situation, but I don't want to analyse it too much because it's a situation you can't understand easily," Leonardo told Sky.

"I don't want to understand it, I want to live it."

Without suspended striker Samuel Eto'o and the injured pair Julio Cesar and Wesley Sneijder, Leonardo had little room to manoeuvre tactically compared to the side that Rafael Benitez left after their World Club Cup triumph last month.

He chose a 4-3-1-2 against Benitez's favoured 4-3-3, with Jose Mourinho having used both formations in last season's treble success, but Inter looked all at sea at times as their enthusiasm to impress the boss meant they left gaps at the back.

Top finishing from midfielders Thiago Motta, who scored twice, and Esteban Cambiasso secured the points despite Michele Pazienza's easy header for the visitors and a clear win over the form team before the mid-season break cannot be underestimated.

"Today we enjoyed our play. The win was thanks to the desire of the guys," added Leonardo, who left new signing, defender Andrea Ranocchia, on the bench.

Inter, who paraded the five trophies they won last year before kick off as their fans unveiled banners thanking Benitez, are 13 points behind leaders Milan with two games in hand but Leonardo believes a sixth straight scudetto is still possible.

"We need to think game by game, taking one step at a time," he said.


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