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Jul 31, 2009

Leonardo unperturbed by Milan's summer form

AC Milan coach Leonardo is remaining upbeat despite his side's fifth consecutive defeat in pre-season to Boca Juniors on Thursday.

The Rossoneri were beaten in a penalty shoot-out after conceding a late equaliser in normal time, denying them a morale-boosting victory after four straight defeats.

But Leonardo insisted his side's morale was unaffected by the outcome. "The lads made it clear that they wanted to bounce back,'' he said.

"It was important for us to end in the best way and, for once, it was our opponents who had to chase the game. It is a shame about the goal we conceded at the end, but I saw a good reaction and now we will try to recover our strength in the coming days.''

Leonardo gave his side three days off to recharge their batteries after a tiring tour of the United States, which preceded their ill-fated appearance at the Audi Cup.

Milan were forced to play their first match against hosts Bayern Munich just 36 hours after arriving from Boston, and only 48 hours after they had been beaten by Inter Milan in the final friendly of their US tour.

But despite the defeats, Leonardo was still able to take some positives out of the gruelling schedule, particularly the way new signing Thiago Silva has settled in. "I saw a Milan with great character,'' he said.

"Thiago Silva can be an added bonus for us going forward, particularly from set-pieces. The two goals he has scored in pre-season confirm that he is attack-minded. He really wants to learn and is improving all the time. I think he is going to do well for us.''

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