Against Genoa the Nerazzurri proved they have not been intimidated by Milan's recent improvements. All credit to Leonardo and his guys to keep chasing the current Serie A leaders, while they are accelerating. Inter are not playing the best football of the season but simply do not accept defeat. A team with less pride, less fighting spirit could have been tempted to give in. Not Leonardo's Inter. The Brazilian coach and his players seem to enjoy the challenge and apparently they lift their game when have their backs to the wall. It’s happened several times and could happen again in Munich. Still 10 days left but that's the game Inter players are looking for. There is the European Champions title to defend and Bayern's three consecutive defeats can finally induce more courage in the Italian champions.
Last week has been the first in 2011 with Inter not playing a midweek game. And against Genoa you could appreciate it straight away, as in the first-half the home side looked like they were still resting. Arguably the slowest and most boring first-half of the season, in which Inter were capable to convince Genoa they could leave San Siro unbeaten.
Actually, Genoa have nothing of the exciting side admired two or three season ago under Gasperini. Rossoblu didn't dare disturbing the sleeping giant until the 40th minute when Palacio scored. Inter’s reaction? Going to the dressing room. Second half, with Pandev replacing Stankovic, was a totally different story. And after 12 minutes Inter were leading 3-1 thanks to Pazzini and Eto'o [another brace]. Not even the incredible goal tally [already 30 goals in all competitions] can describe the Cameroon striker's outstanding work rate upfront - he's so dominating that you wonder what would how mighty Barcelona might be with him. The fourth goal was scored by Pandev who looks rejuvenated by some weeks on the bench. The fifth was a short-distance missile from Nagatomo which was the icy on the cake and a joy to watch for the Japanese fans at San Siro. There was still time to see Genoa's second goal with Boselli - the Argentinian striker's header was the second shot in goal of the game for the visitors, which says a lot about their poor present.
Man of the match: Leonardo. The Brazilian coach's impact has been outstanding. And immediate. Despite astonishing figures supporting his cracking start, Leonardo is still struggling in gaining some consideration as coach. He has won nothing so far but he's just broken Fabio Capello's record for the best streak - in 2004-05, under the current England manager, Juventus gained 32 points in 13 games, Inter under the Brazilian gained 33 out of 39 - 11 wins, 2 defeats. The CL'second leg in Munich and the April's Derby will be two key fixtures to assess Inter's season and Leonardo's worth as a top coach too.
Serie A 2010-11 / Day 28
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia (dal 32' Nagatomo), Chivu; Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Stankovic (46' Pandev); Snejider; Eto'o, Pazzini (74' Kharja). Coach: Leonardo
Genoa: Eduardo; Mesto, Dainelli, Kaladze (82' Chico), Moretti; Rafinha, Kucka , Konko (74' Antonelli), Rossi; Paloschi (74' Boselli), Palacio. Coach: Regno
Goals: Palacio 40', Pazzini 50', Eto'o 51', 57', Pandev 71', Nagatomo 84'; Palacio 40', Boselli 90'
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter