The Milan coach shared his view on diverse subjects in his pre-game press conference, held today, the day before the Rossoneri's "important, fundamental” match at Fiorentina. Nesta is sidelined with injury, while Pato, Ibra and Boateng are set to start up front.
MILAN - Here is what the coach from Livorno had to say earlier this afternoon:
ON TOMORROW’S GAME:
“Fiorentina are one of the most in-form teams at the moment, as demonstrated by their recent performances. Mutu is undoubtedly one of their key players, therefore his suspension is a big blow for the Viola. Tomorrow evening we’ll need to be focused and play with a lot of attention.
I think they’ll try to beat us playing an open game. They’ll look to dominate the play. Considering their position in the standings, they don’t have much to lose and this could encourage them play a more attacking type of football than other teams do”.
ON THE PLAYERS’ ATTITUDE:
“I believe that tomorrow’s game will be fundamental regarding our Serie A campaign, because at this stage of the season a positive result could give us a huge lift and bring us closer to our ultimate goal. Perhaps we took everything granted after a pair of important wins against Napoli and Juventus and this was a mistake. Then we won the derby, but I don’t think it’s already over. We can say we did it only when we finally achieve our objective.
My players had the right concentration in the derby, but the game tomorrow is just as important as the Inter clash was. We can’t afford to take it lightly... then I don’t know what result we’ll get... The starting line-up for tomorrow? More or less the same as the one I fielded against in the derby. The only significant change will be Yepes in defence, who’ll replace Nesta; then Ibrahimovic will be back, but I would like to repeat that also those who start on the bench are important. I know that leaving Robinho out is a big decision, but he can do well even coming on as a substitute, because he has the necessary technical and physical qualities to be efficient playing off the bench.
I want my players to play aggressive tomorrow, showing also their skills and character, like they’ve done quite a few times this season, but let’s not forget that there will be also another team on the field”.
ON THE INDIVIDUALS:
“Pirlo’s undoubtedly getting better. He’s trained with the squad for a couple of days now and he’ll be available for selection for our next game. Pato has to convert Ibra’s assists. They are able to do great thing together.
Now he’s doing well physically and his goals in the derby certainly raised his morale. Apart from his brace, I think that he played a great overall game against Inter. I'm pleased, because this means that his chemistry with the others has improved a lot. Not only with those on the field against Inter, but also with Ibra.
Gattuso is available for selection and could well be in the starting eleven tomorrow”.
ON MAZZARRI AND PRANDELLI:
“Me a winner? I don’t know. Mazzarri has done well throughout his career and now he’s doing well with Napoli. I don’t have anything to say about him as a coach. I’m just saying that if he has already done so well, he could even stop now allowing us to win the title and then everyone would be happy.
We already have enough fans and we’re satisfied with them. I don’t know if the national team coach was only misunderstood or he didn’t choose his words carefully enough, but I definitely couldn’t care less about who supports us and who doesn’t. I only want to keep the first place".
“I think that Inter will fight until the end in the championship and will try to pull off the feat in Germany, in the Champions League. You need to be in their dressing room to judge them, but I only enter that of Milan. I just want to get the most out of my players and don’t want to talk about other teams’ business.
Getting back to the derby and some of Moratti’s comments, I think that nothing special happened in the stadium and in the dressing rooms. The fans expressed their disappointment about Leonardo and that’s all”.
“Balotelli is still very young and having good manners and showing respect towards others are fundamental for a youngster, just as for any other person. To be accepted by today’s society one needs these basic moral characteristics. The young may fall every now and then, but footballers are also role models for others. They can set both good and bad examples. As for Balotelli, he needs to mature to be an example to follow. He has great potential which could make him a star player, but to become one you also need mental strength, apart from technique and physical abilities”.