Inter Milan boss Leonardo credited his side’s psychological strength following their come-from-behind 5-2 defeat of Genoa on Sunday.
Inter were trailing 1-0 after Rodrigo Palacio opened Genoa’s account in the 40th minute at the San Siro, but the hosts slammed in three goals – two of them to Samuel Eto’o – in the first 17 minutes of the second half to wrest the advantage away.
Goran Pandev added another in the 71st minute to make it 4-1, and on-loan Cesena defender Yuto Nagatomo notched his first Inter strike six minutes from time to complete the rout.
Leonardo said he could not take credit for Inter’s stunning turnaround, praising instead the physical and mental strength of his players.
“We were slow in the first half and these things can happen, but there were no magic words at half-time to get them going again,” the Brazilian manager said.
“The fact we score so many second half goals is a great sign for our physical as well as psychological condition.”
“We work as a team unit and have the same ambitions, to fight together for something important.”
“This squad is ready and goes beyond all limits. We are coming up to the decisive moment of the season and we’re right in the battle.”
“Last night’s AC Milan win shows they are a solid outfit and deserve to be top of the table. It’s an open season and the derby will be spectacular, but there are plenty of other games to go as well.”
Since taking over from Rafa Benitez, Leonardo has led Inter to 33 points in his first 13 Serie A games, breaking Fabio Capello’s record from his time at Juventus in 2004/05.
But the Inter boss refused to be drawn on any similarities between himself and the England manager, who he played under as an attacking midfielder with AC Milan.
“Never compare me to Capello,” Leonardo said.
“That is not right, as he is my master. Capello brought me to Italy and is an important reference point, as he helped me a great deal.”
“It’s a nice record to have, but let’s not go overboard. Capello is on another level.”