Leonardo hoping for Milan-Napoli draw

Inter Milan coach Leonardo will be hoping for a draw when leaders AC Milan host second placed Napoli at the San Siro on Monday night.

Updated: February 27, 2011 00:29 IST
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Rome: Inter Milan coach Leonardo will be hoping for a draw when leaders AC Milan host second placed Napoli at the San Siro on Monday night.

Inter face a trip to Sampdoria where Giampaolo Pazzini will make a quick return to the club he helped fire into this season's Champions League.

But having made a January transfer window move to the reigning Serie A champions, he is likely to get a frosty reception from the Genovese crowd.

But it is Monday's big match that has caught the Brazilian's attention and with his side sitting in third, five points off the leaders and two behind Napoli, Leonardo would rather not see either take three points.

"I hope for a draw but even so it won't be a decisive game, although for sure I expect it to be a great match," he said.

Leonardo also expects the title race to take shape over the coming month.

"The next games will give an important indication, in March we'll discover who will be fighting for the title to the end," he said.

"A lot of things will happen in this block of four games plus the Champions League .

"February and March can determine who will fight to the end even though I believe things will stay interesting until May."

With Inter's 1-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, all three Italian sides sit on the brink of elimination from Europe's premier club competition.

Milan and Roma also suffered home losses while Italy's last remaining Europa League contender Napoli were knocked out on Thursday.

It has sparked talk of a crisis in Italian football as they risk having no sides in the quarter-finals for the second time in three years.

"I think all three can progress to the next round, maybe we're talking too much about an Italian crisis," added the Brazilian.

"Having seen the home games both Inter and Milan could have won. And I think Roma were affected by the difficult moment they were going through and a strange wind came over their result."

Inter have won 11 out of 14 games since Leonardo took over from Rafael Benitez and the Brazilian feels despite the Bayern loss they are still on the right track.

He also believes the Pazzini will be treated kindly by the Samp crowd.

"We don't need to restart, we need to continue. The Marassi is a difficult pitch, the surface isn't the best.

"We'll be playing a team who despite the loss of (Antonio) Cassano and Pazzini have a good base.

"Giampaolo settled down straight away with us, tomorrow will be strange for him but I don't think the fans will jeer him."

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