Inter coy on title chances

Defending champions Inter Milan will not entertain wild hopes of catching Serie A leaders AC Milan despite starting their new era under coach Leonardo with a 3-1 win over fellow title hopefuls Napoli.

They face a tricky trip to Catania tomorrow, knowing they must put a run of wins together to have any chance of hauling in their bitter city rivals.

With Lazio being held at Genoa and Napoli losing,Milan went five points clear on Thursday following a late 1-0 win at Cagliari.

Inter are currently 13 points off the pace in seventh place but they do have two games in hand on their title rivals, which include fourth placed Roma and fifth placed Juventus. Palermo in sixth may feel they still have an outside chance as well.

Inter could go fourth if they win the two games that were postponed due to their participation at the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi last month.

Their success in that tournament came at the end of a torrid six-month tenure for former boss Rafael Benitez, who also saw his team have to settle for second place in their UEFA Champions League group behind Tottenham following a 3-0 defeat at Werder Bremen in their final game.

The Club World Cup has given us a special boost, as has the change of coach.
Diego Milito, Inter Milan striker

But having had a breather from domestic matters, some warm weather in the Middle East, a trophy and a new coach, striker Diego Milito believes they can now kick on.

"The Club World Cup has given us a special boost, as has the change of coach," he said after the Napoli game. "It was important to win, the three points were important and now we want to keep on winning."

Inter need to do exactly that if they are to close the gap to Milan, who have been boosted by the signing of Italy forward Antonio Cassano.

But Inter centre-back Ivan Cordoba doesn't want to look too far ahead.

"We'll take each game as it comes and then we'll add up the points. We know what our strengths are and we want to continue in this way," he said. "The win was also important for Leonardo because he understands what we want to do - to win. He has the right manner, the right way. He's made to coach."

Milan are at home to Udinese, boosted by the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Second-placed Lazio have what on paper looks like the easiest task of the challengers as they host Lecce, who sit second from bottom.

Napoli host Juventus in a crucial game that could see the losers' hopes go up in smoke. Juve suffered a humiliating 4-1 loss at home to Parma on Thursday and also lost Fabio Quagliarella for the season to a cruciate knee ligament injury.