Moratti hears out Leonardo after Schalke loss

Moratti hears out Leonardo after Schalke loss

Published Apr. 6, 2011 1:52 p.m. ET

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti is standing by coach Leonardo in the wake of the club's 5-2 loss to Schalke, accepting that fatigue was to blame following a midnight chat with the Brazilian.

The heavy home loss Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals came three days after Inter lost to AC Milan 3-0 in a crucial derby.

''I think this was all due to fatigue. If that's the reason, well then let's try to get back on track with the players that we have,'' Moratti said, having met with Leonardo in the San Siro changing room into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

''We chatted. He's an intelligent person and he's gaining experience - experiences that are not so easy,'' Moratti said. ''Football is also related to luck and timing. This is a moment we need to get through but we're all united.''


Moratti added that Leonardo is not accustomed to such a sudden change in fortunes. Inter had entered the derby on a roll, having registered a come-from-behind win over Bayern Munich in the previous round of the Champions League and gone five matches unbeaten in Serie A.

''I certainly didn't find him with his morale up,'' Moratti said. ''Nothing has changed for me toward Leonardo. For him, definitely something has changed.''

The 41-year-old Leonardo replaced Rafa Benitez midway through this season, having clashed with Milan president Silvio Berlusconi last year in his first season as a head coach.

Inter trails Milan by five points in Serie A and also faces a steep challenge in the second leg with Schalke next week.

''I know how these things work, I know how cruel football can be and I know that you've got to keep moving forward with the same attitude,'' Moratti said. ''We've got to transform these losses into something positive, although it won't be easy.''