Leonardo praises AC Milan pride
AC Milan coach Leonardo praised his players' pride following their laboured 1-0 home win against Bologna but said he wouldn't get carried away with the result.
Milan sit five points behind leaders Sampdoria and Juventus and three behind champions Inter Milan in the Serie A table after their second win in four matches. Both of those have been narrow successes against minnow opposition with this win added to their 2-1 victory at Siena on the opening day of the season.
Between those two matches, though, came a pair of disappointments: a 4-0 defeat to Inter and 0-0 draw at Livorno so Leonardo believes that these three points have helped put the club on the right track. "I'm not using triumphant tones for this victory, there's still many things to do," he said.
"My triumph was the commitment the team showed against Bologna. The players did a lot, they showed their pride from the beginning to the end. Now there is a fighting mentality; talent mixed in with desire and organisation."
Milan have been starved of domestic success since 2004, their last scudetto triumph, despite twice since reaching the UEFA Champions League final, finishing runners-up in 2005 and winning it in 2007, both times against Liverpool. They have at times been accused of being a team who performs in Europe but then fails to raise their game for mundane league encounters. But that is something Leonardo is hoping to change.
"The Champions League and championship are different competitions with different opponents," he said. "The important thing for us is to have the same approach in terms of concentration and we have to base our season on the organisation of our game plan."
Having sat out the UEFA Champions League victory in Marseille on the bench, Ronaldinho was confined to the stands this time, but that was because of flu. Both Leonardo and match-winner Clarence Seedorf insisted there was nothing more to the Brazilian's omission. "There's no Ronaldinho issue," said Seedorf. "He's part of the squad. Here in Italy people are always looking for pointless issues."
Leonardo insisted there was no problem with his most high profile player. "There are no problems with Ronaldinho, he's always in the spotlight and it's tougher for him than the others. Ronaldinho didn't train for two days and hence we chose to give him a rest."