Leonardo: Inter can match anyone

Leonardo has made light of Inter Milan's lack of attacking options as he prepares them to face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League tomorrow. The Nerazzurri coach is without the injured Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini, who is ineligible having already played for Sampdoria earlier in the competition.

It means Samuel Eto'o will likely be partnered by Goran Pandev, with playmaker Wesley Sneijder in the hole behind the front two and inexperienced Brazilian Coutinho as back up from the bench. But Leonardo doesn't believe that will hamstring his side in the last 16, 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 Serie A, where most teams play with a safety-first policy. "The Champions League brings together great players and great teams with great ambitions," Leonardo said. "That makes the desire to play take precedence over the desire to contain, and I like this attacking mentality in the Champions League."

This team are the reigning champions, they can match anyone. We will behave like champions should.
Leonardo, Inter Milan coach

Although Inter have not shown the kind of all-conquering dominance this campaign 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," he vowed. "We'll fight with all our strength. We have the ability to overcome any difficulties and that makes me feel strong. We will behave like champions should."

Inter beat Bayern 2-0 in the 2009/10 Champions League final, but could only finish second to Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage and therefore received a tougher draw in the first round of the knockout phase. 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 Argentinian. "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."