Moratti backs Leonardo after 'cruel' loss

MILAN - Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti is standing by coach Leonardo after two heavy defeats in four days virtually ended their hopes of retaining their Serie A and Champions League titles.

"My estimation of Leonardo hasn't changed," Moratti told Inter's website.

"For me nothing has changed because I know how cruel football can be and you have to keep going without losing heart.

"I don't like helplessness. We'll go on as we are and we'll see what happens - we've won a lot playing like this and we will win more."

Moratti blamed fatigue after Inter, reeling from a 3-0 Serie A loss to AC Milan on Saturday, collapsed to a 5-2 home defeat against Schalke 04 in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.

"What I liked least was the tiredness in the team, you could see the players were struggling. That's not to blame them, but you could imagine that something like that might happen.

"The extent of the defeat did surprise me, but you could see how tired they were on Saturday and you can't recover in just a few days," added Moratti, who said he spoke to Leonardo after the game.

"In football you always have to start over, even from situations worse than this. In two games we were supposed to achieve so much and yet in two games we've undermined nearly everything, though nothing is definitive.

"It hasn't changed the essence of the team or the coach."

Inter's next match is at home to Chievo on Saturday.