Inter’s Leonardo: Milan derby is not ‘crucial’ and will not decide the championship

Leonardo does not think that Inter’s clash on Saturday with Milan will decide the Scudetto and claims he will never forget his 13 years with the Rossoneri...

Inter coach Leonardo has played down the significance of the city derby on Saturday evening.

Italian giants Milan and Inter confront each other in a top-of-the-table clash in Serie A at San Siro, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side leading the Nerazzurri by two points.

A win for Inter will see them leapfrog Milan into pole position with seven more rounds of matches remaining, but Leonardo believes that a win for either side on Saturday will not determine the title.

"The derby won't be crucial because after that there are another seven rounds,” said the 41-year-old, according to ESPNSoccernet.

"What we wanted to do was get closer, get back in the race and challenge for the Scudetto. We reach this derby in the best possible condition."

Leonardo was appointed the Inter coach on Christmas Eve, replacing Rafael Benitez. Last summer the Brazilian parted ways with Milan after leading them to a third-placed finish in the Italian standings.

The former Sao Paulo and Milan player, though, has played down an emotional meeting with the Diavoli and said: "I live my life based on love, not recrimination. Life goes on and you have to learn from every experience.

"Looking back on my career, I see only the good things and will never forget my 13 years at Milan."

Leonardo has revived Inter’s chances of winning the treble this season. The defending Italian and European champions will take on Schalke in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and also have a date with Roma in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia.

Kick-off at San Siro is at 2045 CET on Saturday. Click Play to see how the Derby della Madonnina will finish according to EA Sports' FIFA 11 simulation.