Leonardo plays down striking shortage
AFP, Tuesday 22 Feb 2011
Inter Milan coach Leonardo made light of his side's attacking shortages as he prepares his team to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday

With Diego Milito injured and Giampaolo Pazzini ineligible having already played for Sampdoria earlier in the competition, Leonardo is short of forward options.

It leaves him with top scorer Samuel Eto'o to be partnered most probably by Goran Pandev and Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder in the hole behind the front two, with only young Brazilian Coutinho as back up from the bench.

But Leonardo doesn't believe that will hamstring his side in the second round, first leg tie at the San Siro.

"If we think about the foundation of the team, it's there," he said.

"The league is one thing and the Champions League is another. We have options, less than we have in the league but we do have some."

The Brazilian also believes that Europe provides a more attacking platform than the Italian league where most teams play with a safety first policy.

"The Champions League brings together great players and great teams with great ambitions," he said.

"That makes the desire to play take precedence over the desire to contain and I like this attacking mentality in the Champions League."

Although Inter have not shown the kind of all-conquering dominance this season that they enjoyed under Jose Mourinho last season, Leonardo believes they still have what it takes to go far in the competition.

"This team are the reigning champions, they can match anyone. We'll fight with all our strength," he said.

"We have the ability to overcome any difficulties and that makes me feel strong. We'll behave like champions should."

Inter beat Bayern 2-0 in the final last May but could only finish second to Tottenham in the group stages and faced a tough draw in the first knock-out round.

However captain Javier Zanetti doesn't believe the Madrid final will have much bearing on the outcome of this tie.

"There will be 180 minutes, that's the first difference to when we played Bayern in May," said the veteran Argentine.
"They're different to what they were and tomorrow's will be a different game but we know that we're in great form, as we were then.

"Bayern are a great team but we need to try to win the game, to think as a team, to keep it tight and then counter.

"We must make sure we don't leave them much space. We're ready, we know our strengths and this is the Champions League, we want to progress."