Leonardo: Rafael Benítez not to blame for Inter’s poor start

New manager insists he is not a miracle worker despite boasting a 100 per cent record as Inter boss

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
leonardo
Leonardo was named as Rafael Benítez's successor in December (Photo: Inter.it)

leonardo

Inter Milan manager Leonardo insists sacked coach Rafael Benítez was not solely to blame for the club’s poor start to the season.

Club president Massimo Moratti opted to end Benítez’s difficult spell in Milan despite the Spanish manager leading the club to the Fifa Club World Cup just days before his dismissal.

Leonardo, 41, replaced Benítez at the San Siro in December and has since led the defending Italian champions to four successive victories. Inter are now six points behind Serie A leaders AC Milan with a game in hand, but Leonardo believes the club’s change in fortunes is not purely down to his arrival.

“Nothing happens for one sole reason, it’s a series of things that either make you a zero or a hero,” Leonardo said. “It”s not a case of me arriving and everything goes well, but I’ve arrived, the players are coming back [from injury], there’s enthusiasm and there’s also the base work done by Rafael Benítez that has allowed the players to come back.

“If there were many injuries under Benítez it could be that there were some misunderstandings, and that could happen with me too.”

Inter forward Samuel Eto’o last week told the Italian press that the players should apologise to Benítez for under-performing during the 54-year-old’s time at the club. Leonardo refused to comment on the Cameroon international’s remarks but did offer his own defence of Benítez.

“You can’t analyse one thing and say Benítez is to blame, Leo is the saviour, that would be too superficial,” said Leonardo. “Maybe now Benítez will go to another club, things will go well and he’ll win everything.

“Here, things went a certain way, that’s life. So I think it’s absurd and embarrassing for the players to be commenting on what went before and what there is now, it’s not fair, leave them alone.”

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