ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Inter Milan
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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 01/07/2011

A good win. Inter defeated Napoli 3-1 to celebrate in the most appropriate way Leonardo's first game in charge and the 2010 five trophies parade which preceded the kickoff. The Scudetto plate, the 'Coppa Italia' and the Champions League trophies [won under Mourinho] placed next to the Italian Supercup and the Fifa Club World Cup [won under Benitez]. Inter's Curva did a classy thing showing a banner which read "Benitez: a sincere thanks from us, the only ones who always backed you". The Spaniard will appreciate this genuine gesture.

Despite all these celebrations of the recent past, against Napoli there were present and future at stake. In the afternoon AC Milan moved 5 points clear at the top after a 1-0 win at Cagliari.

Nerazzurri began the match with a 16 points gap between them and Rossoneri - but with two games in hand. Leonardo couldn't dream of a better start as his fellow countryman Thiago Motta broke the deadlock after only 3 minutes with a perfectly timed volley.

Leonardo chose to start with a 4-3-1-2 formation. A very tight midfield line [Zanetti-Cambiasso-Motta], designed basically to protect the heart of the defense. Maicon and Chivu were given room and freedom to exploit the flanks; same could be said of Stankovic allowed to play a là Sneijder behind Milito and Pandev. Napoli were one of the toughest test serie A can offer at the moment. This season's playing level is probably the lowest point in the Italian League's recent history. However, in this general mediocrity contest Napoli can be seen as one of the [current] top teams. So all credit to Leonardo and his guys if Inter made Napoli look smaller and weaker than usual.

Partenopei levelled on 23 minutes as Pazienza headed a Lavezzi corner, exposing clearly Maicon lack of concentration - he simply didn't jump. Fifteen minutes later it was Cambiasso who gave the perfect reply, heading home a Maicon's cross. In the second half Thiago Motta completed his brace with a header into the top corner. There was still time to admire a 60-yard coast-to-coast from captain Zanetti but his shot went wide. He's still the same engine arrived from Argentina 15 years ago.

Leonardo's postgame analysis had nothing to do with tactics but with inspiration, restored pride and praise. We will get used to his mantra. "This Inter side is the best of all time. When in 20 years time people look at this team, there will be a genral consensus that it was the best Inter ever" said the Brazilian coach.

There is a very different spirit in the squad and Inter players body language gave ample proof of it. Esteban Cambiasso, one of the key players, chose to keep everyone's feet on the ground: "I don't want to compare coaches. I'd like to thank all of them - Mancini, Mourinho, Benitez and now Leonardo. But don't say that only now things are OK. We did a great work even under Benitez otherwise we wouldn't have won anything".

MAN OF THE MATCH: Leonardo. The former AC Milan coach needed a good start to cancel Benitez and Mourinho's shadows. He got it. The challenge to prove himself as good as them or even better is just started.

Serie A 2010-11 / Day 18


INTER: Castellazzi; Maicon, Lucio, Cordoba, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Thiago Motta (Muntari 86'); Stankovic (Mariga 80'); Pandev (Biabiany 83'), Milito. Coach: Leonardo
NAPOLI: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica; Maggio, Gargano (Yebda 58'), Pazienza (Sosa 76'), Dossena (Zuniga 66'); Hamsik, Lavezzi; Cavani. Coach: Mazzarri

Referee: Rocchi
Goals: Thiago Motta 3', 55', Cambiasso 37'; Pazienza 23'
Yellow cards: Chivu, Maicon, Zanetti; Aronica, Campagnaro


Posted by Palpatine on 01/07/2011

Very stable performance. Great job by Leonardo, he lifted some physiological problem that struck the team in Rafa era.

Posted by connor on 01/07/2011

Yes a good start for Leo's reign with us. I am happy to see Inter playing closer to their full potential. I also think that it's only one match. Leo could crash and burn as Benitez did, but I have faith in Leo not to follow in the Waiter's footsteps.

Posted by sam on 01/07/2011

What a fantastic match and what a change! Mentally it seemed like a completely different team, I had flashbacks to last season and the great achievements this team had. I dont want to talk about Benetiz but I would rate Moratti and his decision to part ways as one of the best decisions the club has made. Something wasnt working and if he had stayed it would have gotten worse. I hope he finds another team soon better suited to his style.
Leonardo seems to have instilled joy back in this team and I am excited to think that Sneijder and Eto'o have still got to come back. Everyone played above their normal standard this season but I was particularly impressed with Pandev and the midfield, Milito also looked to be getting better and the tactics seem much better suited to his style. Overall I think all Inter fans should feel more positive for the rest of the season, maybe not to win the scudetto but at least to put up a challenge!

Posted by ZY on 01/08/2011

...and this good win was by a squad that rafa said needed '4 or 5' new players?

no wonder he got sacked.

Posted by Aloua on 12/05/2012

Rispondo a tutte le domande ve0: Sec sono ctoniecse di esserlo, dato che tu non sai cos'e8 la sportivite0 e personalmente sono ctoniecse che abbiamo una difesa di merda, ma non per questo credo proprio che l'Inter prendere0 provvedimenti a gecGiugno, senza parlare dei ritorni di Lucio e Samuel. Il sedicenne sarei io, tu hai parlato per primo di Tramontana dicendo che e8 un pirla e mi hai posto la domanda sai dove andre0 a finire? .

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