Inter Milan coach Leonardo claimed his team can still win everything after watching the Nerazzurri labour to a 2-0 win over Chievo at the San Siro. That same stadium had been the scene of two disasters in the space of four days that appeared to have left Inter's season in ruins.
A 3-0 defeat in the derby to AC Milan left them five points off top with seven games left. But worse was to come as Inter crashed 5-2 at home to Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League quarter final, first leg, leaving themselves a mountain range to climb and a desert to traverse in the second leg next week.
But the win over Chievo moved Inter to within two points of their bitter city rivals, who had a game in hand, and left Leonardo feeling positively sprightly. "The same aims we had before the two defeats we kept after them, even more so now after a difficult game like this," he said.
"I always try to keep fear at bay, we've won many games at the end or when we've had to come from behind. We know that we have to keep pushing right to the end with patience and intelligence, without losing organisation or balance, and we did that. The lads were brave and the president and club have also done well to stay calm through a difficult period."
And Leonardo defiantly claimed they could still hope to progress against Schalke next week, even though they need to win 4-0 in Germany to do so. "Our objectives are clear, they haven't changed, even in the Champions League," he added.
"You always have to think about one game at a time and until the end of the 90 minutes against Chievo we thought only about that game, which we had to win. Now we can think about the Champions League with the same concentration we showed (against Chievo). "For me, inside of me, everything is possible. I think it and so do the players, all of them."
One of the bright sparks during the Chievo game was the contribution of Japan full-back Yuto Nagatomo who impressed with his bursting runs forward down the left flank. If Inter are to fight back from their near-impossible deficit against Schalke, they will need that kind of gut-busting commitment from all their players. And now he is hoping to get the nod in Gelsenkirchen.
"I wanted to contribute to the win and that's the spirit I took onto the field, I managed to win and I'm delighted," he said. "Inter have many good players and I know that I can't play in every game and that's why I must always be prepared for every chance I get.
"I believe we can get the result back and if we didn't think like that there would be no point playing the game, but we believe."