Moratti: Leonardo deserves win

Published May. 28, 2011 2:16 p.m. EDT

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti believes coach Leonardo deserves to win the Coppa Italia on Sunday.

Should the Nerazzurri succeed, it would be Leonardo's first title as coach.

The former Milan boss replaced Rafael Benitez in December with the team struggling and led his side to runners-up spot in the league.

"For Leonardo, this title is certainly important," Moratti said.


"Since joining the club, he has had to learn fast, get to know the club and adapt quickly, and at Inter, this is not as simple as in other clubs.

"He came in when the club was in a difficult situation and he responded well.

"Leonardo has done what I expected and more. Hence, he deserves this trophy."

Unlike Inter, who have won the Italian Cup six times, Palermo go in search of their first.

Palermo eliminated champions Milan in the semi-finals to reach the showpiece match for only the third time, and their first since 1979.

"We are hungry to win it, but I think this will be a very difficult game because Palermo are 10 times more eager to clinch this trophy," Moratti said.

The pressure was telling on the Sicilians on the final round of league fixtures when they took on Chievo and lost 3-1 in Palermo.

The defeat was only their second since coach Delio Rossi was reinstated in April, less than two months after being dismissed by club president Maurizio Zamparini.

While Rossi, who led Lazio to win the Coppa Italia in the 2008/09 campaign, admitted his team was not fully focused on that game because of the final against Inter,

Zamparini warned his players they would need to play much better to avoid humiliation.

"If we play in the same manner that we did against Chievo, we could lose against Inter by four or five goals," he said.

However, Zamparini, whose side will be playing in the Europa League next season courtesy of reaching the final, believes his team has nothing to lose.

"To have arrived to the final is already a great satisfaction for us," he said. "Even a defeat would be for us a victory but should we beat Inter, it would be like winning the Scudetto for us."

Inter have the upper hand having beaten Palermo twice this season, and Zamparini's men, who finished eighth in Serie A, know they cannot afford any distractions.

The last time both sides met Palermo led 2-0 before a second-half comeback from Inter saw the Nerazzurri win 3-2 at the San Siro.

"We have to play the perfect game and hope that Inter have an off-day," Palermo midfielder Giulio Migliaccio said. "Inter is used to playing on big stages.

"We have learned from the mistakes we made in our 3-2 defeat earlier this season and I think this time it will be different."

Inter will be bolstered by the return of playmaker Wesley Sneijder from a calf injury.