LEONARDO HAILS INTER CHARACTER

Inter Milan manager Leonardo has said that he is very proud of his team's character. Inter Milan coach Leonardo hailed his team's show of heart after they fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Catania on Sunday.

That closed the champions to within 11 points of top spot with two games in hand.

It was their fighting spirit that most pleased the new boss, who has won his two games in charge since taking over from Rafael Benitez.

"We struggled in the first half because Catania were well organised," said Leonardo.

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LEONARDO TAKES CHARGE

Leonardo has replaced Rafael Benitez as the coach of Inter Milan this week. Brazilian World Cup winner Leonardo will take up the reins on 29 December and his contract runs until June 2012.

Benitez was sacked after six months in the job after asking the Inter board to back him in the transfer market.

"We believe Leonardo has the class and experience of a champion and his mentality will get the team together to get results," Inter's website read.

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BENITEZ UNDER PRESSURE

The pressure on Inter Milan manager Rafa Benitez is becoming increasingly clear for everyone to see. Inter Milan coach Rafa Benitez can expect to feel the pressure again this season after his makeshift team threw away the chance to top Champions League Group A, slumping to a 3-0 defeat at Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

The Germans, already eliminated after failing to win a match in their group until Tuesday, struck three times and hit the woodwork twice as the sluggish Italians looked nothing like the side that won the trophy last season.

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STANKOVIC WANTS TO END CAREER

Stankovic says that he wants to end career with Inter Milan. The Serbia international midfielder has been linked with Schalke this week, but insists he is Inter through and through.

“It's the first time that I have heard a report of Schalke's interest and I can say that's it great teams are still after you when you are 32.

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ETO'O PLEASED WITH START

Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o says that he is happy with the club's start this season's Champions League. The Nerazzurri managed a 2-2 draw at tournament debutants FC Twente on Tuesday night, with Eto'o getting his name on the scoresheet.

Inter Milan ended a 45-year wait last season when they were crowned kings of Europe thanks to a remarkable treble under the stewardship of former boss Jose Mourinho.

INTER DRAW ON OPENING DAY

Inter Milan could manage only a draw on the opening day after being held by Bologna. Playing on Monday after their European Super Cup defeat by Atletico Madrid on Friday, Inter dominated but were unable to find a way past the Bologna defence.

Inter were encamped in Bologna's half for much of the second period but Emiliano Viviano made some key saves.

And late on Samuel Eto'o clipped the bar from substitute Coutinho's cross.

"He did very well with his head, with his hands, with everything," joked Benitez of Viviano's performance.

INTER NOT READY TO DROP MAICON PRICE

Inter Milan have categorically said that they are not willing to drop the price for Brazilian right-back, Maicon. Yesterday, it was reported that Real Madrid issued an ultimatum to Inter saying that their final offer for the defender is €22 million and they won’t pay anything above that. Inter Milan have reportedly rejected Madrid’s ultimatum.

Maicon’s agent Antonio Caliendo has said “If things don’t improve between both the clubs then Maicon will stay with Inter. He is not in any hurry to leave the European Champions.”

INTER MILAN IN FOR BENITEZ

Italian football giants Inter Milan have reportedly established contacts with Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

Inter Milan made their move at the weekend, just when everyone thought they were chasing England manager Fabio Capello.

"Inter have been happy for everyone to think they want Capello as it's taken everyone's attention away from Benitez," The Sun quoted an Italian source, as saying.

The Italian team hopes to cash in on the uncertainty over Benitez's position as Liverpool manager, as it is being speculated that Capello wants to see out his England contract until after Euro 2012.

Inter up for the Treble

Inter Milan kept their treble hopes alive with a 1-0 victory away to Fiorentina in the Italian Cup semi-final, second leg on Tuesday to reach May's final 2-0 on aggregate.

Samuel Eto'o scored the only goal of the game 12 minutes into the second half to ensure Inter reached their fifth Italian Cup final in six years.

If AS Roma manage to hold onto their 2-0 first-leg lead over Udinese next week, it will also be the fifth final between the two sides in those last six years.

Inter assistant coach Daniele Bernazzani told Rai TV he was satisfied.

Inter beat CSKA

Inter Milan reached the last four of the Champions League for the first time since 2003 as they eased to a 2-0 aggregate victory over CSKA Moscow.

Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder grabbed the only goal of the game in the sixth minute as his low free-kick found its way through the CSKA wall and beyond goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Things got worse for the hosts when they had substitute Chidi Odiah sent off early in the second half and Inter were comfortably able to repel any pressure from their hosts and coast in the last four.

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