ROME, January 18 – Inter Milan coach Leonardo has moved to calm talk of a sixth Serie A title in a row ahead of Wednesday's clash against Cesena.
Inter are down in sixth place at the moment but should they beat their lowly visitors to the San Siro, they would go fourth, six points behind leaders AC Milan and still with a game in hand.
A win in that too would put them second.
After the turbulent reign of Rafael Benitez, Leonardo seems to have brought back some stability to Inter and is looking for a fifth straight victory in as many games since taking over.
The incertitude and vulnerability that marked Benitez’s reign seems to be gone as Inter are looking more and more like their old selves: the unstoppable machine that romped to an unprecedented treble last season, a feat never before achieved by an Italian team.
And their mini-charge has come at a time when all other prospective title rivals around them have been stuttering.
Milan have drawn their last two games against Udinese and Lecce, Juventus began the year with back-to-back three-goal defeats, Lazio were embarrassed by Lecce at home while Napoli lost at Inter and Roma were beaten at Sampdoria.
It means Inter have picked up more points than any of their rivals since the turn of the year.
In fact just before Christmas they trailed Milan by 13 points with just one game in hand, meaning that if they beat Cesena they will have made up seven points in just four games.
But even so, Leonardo is not counting his chickens just yet.
"Inter are always challenging for the title but we have to stay calm, work on our game and try to be consistent, and that’s it," he said.
"There’s still a lot of games left and this is not the time to start counting the points, we must continue like we have been."
Inter looked ominous in their 4-1 demolition of Bologna on Saturday as both strikers Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o found the net.
One of the club’s principle problems in the first half of the season was a lack of goals, but Leonardo feels his strike pair are starting to click.
"That match (against Bologna) was a crucial victory, a game in which Milito and Eto’o looked for each other and did well.
"When the forwards have free heads and do what they know how to do, things go better.
"(Goran) Pandev also did just as well and when there’s this synchretism between players, it’s great."
In his darkest hours Benitez had claimed he needed at least four new players in the January transfer window but following the signing of centre-back Andrea Ranocchia, Leonardo says he is happy with what he has.
"The last thing I’m thinking about is the transfer window, this team has its balance which needs to be maintained, that’s pivotal," he said.
"You can add or remove someone but it must be without touching the balance of a team who know each other so well and who know how to manage their efforts.
"I wouldn’t touch the equalibrium, these guys live too well together, if we do sign someone it will be a youngster, someone for the future."
Cesena for their part are sitting just goal-difference above the relegation zone, however they have proved stubborn opponents for much of this season.
They came away from Roma on the opening day of the season with a draw and then beat AC Milan 2-0 at home.