Tonight's encounter against Napoli will mark the debut of Leonardo as the Inter coach. The Brazilian was appointed the Nerazzurri tactician on Christmas Eve, replacing the departed Rafael Benitez, and tonight's match against the former Italian champions will be his first test. Many see this appointment as a gamble as Leonardo has just one season of top-flight football management experience, which, ironically, came at Milan last campaign. However, the 41-year-old did demonstrate in 2009-10 that he is a coach capable of working with limited resources and that he has the ability to get the best out of his players. However, with Inter 13 points off the pace in Serie A, lying seventh in the table with 23 points from 15 matches, Leonardo has his work cut out and needs to win right from Day One. The Italian and European champions claimed the FIFA Club World Cup last month and the players would be buoyant to resume their battle in the league, but even with two games in hand the Beneamata face an uphill struggle to catch their city-rivals Milan at the summit of the first division.
"The last few days have been very useful, though the time has been short," explained Leonardo. "It's always different when you have to start mid-season, but this team already knows how to play.
"It's been good to get to know the lads better and everyone has done everything they can to help me, also because they know there's not much time: we've got a huge game tomorrow. The players have shown a fantastic attitude in training. We're focused on Napoli because it's a key fixture: we're playing against the team that lies second in the league. And we're ready for it.''
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