First Team

IN THE PHOTO: Pato, Robinho and Seedorf celebrating after the first goal of the game


Joy is overflowing in the Milan camp after a crushing victory over city rivals Inter in tonight’s long awaited derby. There’s great enthusiasm amongst the Rossoneri, but all agree on one thing: the team has to go on like this.

(IN THE PHOTO: Pato, Robinho and Seedorf celebrating after the first goal of the game)

MILAN - Here is what Adriano Galliani, Massimiliano Allegri, Abate, Amelia, Pato, Seedorf and Zambrotta had to say following the Rossoneri’s huge win against Inter:

“It was a splendid game. The international break came at a good time for us. I’m not surprised by our performance though, because yesterday and the day before I saw the players train with great intensity. I’ve rarely seen such intense sessions. We had a strong start to the game, we were ruthless and managed to surprise them with that early goal. We still haven’t won anything, but Inter have to make up for the six points lost against us in the two derbies of the season. We won a very important match, but there are still 7 games left to play and 21 points up for grabs. You can win the derby and lose the championship and vice versa. There’s one less round and we’re still first.
The players appreciated that the fans came to Milanello this morning. It seems that the morale around the team is high again.
However, we must keep our feet on the ground, keep focused and calm. In the next Round we’ll travel to Florence, we’ll have to concentrate on that challenge from tomorrow on.
Abate has improved a lot and I also liked Zambrotta, who missed a lot of games through injury. In the middle of the park we had two Dutch experts, Seedorf and Van Bommel. I liked Boateng as well, he’s good at joining the attack. Robinho is an extraordinary player. If he missed less chances, he would be nothing less than fantastic. And then there’s Pato, whose goal/minutes played ratio is simply terrific. President Berlusconi is very pleased with this victory.
My relationship with Leonardo is still good. I’m still fond of him, because we worked together for 13 years. It was me to hire him as my assistant and then as head coach. I consider him a great man and I still like him. 13 years cannot be erased by taking a coaching job at Inter. It’s like a divorce: when you leave your wife, you have to remember the good years of your marriage. The relationship ends, but it’s not like it never existed. It did exist. It was a great relationship with Leonardo, but it’s over now. I can’t forget those years, we worked very well together.
President Berlusconi was disappointed about Cassano’s sending off. Fouls, even the most foolish, are part of the game, but I can’t understand why players have to take off their shirts.
I’m happy for the victory. When Milan lose, I feel sorry for millions of fans, I feel responsible for their disappointment, but tonight we did something to make them happy”.

“I think this has been a great night for the lads, for Milan and the fans, for everyone. My players deserved this success. I told them before the game that it would be would their evening, and it was. We did well technically and played with good intensity. We played as a team, more than in the last two games, when we perhaps thought that we had already won it and as a result lost focus. Now we have to keep concentrated, because there are still plenty of points up for grabs. From Tuesday on, we’ll have to focus our attention to Fiorentina. I think that it takes serenity to play good games, because under excessive tension you’ll commit errors. The lads did well and deserved the victory. We were focused right off the start.
Seedorf was extraordinary. He ran for 90 minutes, gave a lot physically, but still he was impeccable technically. I’m very happy for him. In my opinion, Abate is good enough to play for Italy seeing how much he’s improved.
Boateng had a very good second half, while in the first 45 minutes he should have varied his plays more. Pato demonstrated that he can play differently from how he used to, while Van Bommel proved to be very important to the team and did a great job”.

“First of all, I would like to thank the fans, because coming to Milanello in masses this morning they passed on their enthusiasm to us. I grew up wearing this shirt, so for me winning the derby is a dream come true. Now I hope to achieve another great goal, winning the league title. Having been considered underdogs helped us as it was a strong motivating factor. We’re a great group, a good mix of established winners and players hungry for success. Seedorf is right about this. Clarence played a hell of a game, as did Pato, who is simply unmarkable”.

“By winning the derby, the team gave me a great birthday gift. Now I’m going home to celebrate with my family. This game was very important, seeing that the victory allowed us to regain our 5-point advantage over Inter. In addition, we grabbed all six points against them this season. It was a decisive match, but the other two teams can still have a say in the title race. This win means a lot especially from a psychological point of view. The team had the right approach to the game, we were ruthless, as the boss had asked. He did a perfect job preparing the team. We can say that we crushed Inter as they hardly threatened while we could have scored some more goals. However, let’s not forget that Abbiati’s save on Pazzini was crucial, worth a goal. With that stop he kept the score 1-0 and paved the way for our win”.

“We played against a very strong team, but we did everything well. I’m satisfied with our performance. I always want to do well. I’m very relaxed and just looking to do my best in training and in games. Today I scored twice, worked hard for the team and in the end we managed to solidify our first place position in the standings. I’m also very happy for Cassano’s goal. I dedicate my brace to the fans who have always been here at the stadium to support us, even in the past few years, when things were not going so well”.

“We’ve been together for a long time. Knowing the environment, I wanted to send out what I consider the most important message: we need to play as a team. It’s unthinkable that what we’ve done so far is down to pure luck. In times of difficulty you have to regroup, because these are the moments in which your strength unfolds. I’ve always been proud to wear the number 10, even more so when also the captain’s armband comes with it. I have great respect for those who have worn it in the past, because they’ve shown exemplary leadership on and off the pitch. We’re a strong team. We’ve built something important this season and the time for harvesting the fruit of our hard work is coming. Today we regained self-confidence for the next challenges. I think Inter have huge potential and we did well to keep them quiet. It won't be easy for them to find the right stimuli, seeing that they’re coming off some great performances which can make psychological preparation a bit difficult. I’m satisfied with the win, it was an important game. Now we can play with the right determination. Ibra is set to return and I hope he’ll score another 10 goals. Hopefully, at the end of the season we’ll celebrate the Scudetto together with the fans. Forza Milan forever”!

“I returned from injury in a difficult and important game and I'm pleased with how it went. Clarence did an excellent job both from a technical and tactical point of view. The whole team showed a lot of grit and determination. We were very organised and moved together well. No one can criticize us after this performance. We played a great game defending well and threatening on the counter-attack. We did very, very well. I encouraged the fans to make some noise, because their support can help a lot, especially when you’re tired. Physically I’m doing fine, I had a good rest and I’m ready for the season finale”.