The season is hotting up and the Rossonere intend to be ready. On Sunday, there's a chance to take some Derby revenge, this time in the league. Then, there are some fixtures on the horizon, in which they can't afford any slip-ups. We had a chat with Laura Fusetti, one of the veterans of the group about Serie A and the Coppa Italia; the defender spoke to acmilan.com about the team's form ahead of this final push.
The season is getting to the decisive stage; how is the atmosphere in the dressing room?
"This is the most important part of the season. We need to maintain our grip on second and try to take as many points as we can. Our main aim, in fact, is to qualify for the Champions League. The win over Empoli will definitely help to settle the squad and the atmosphere in the dressing room is great. We need to continue down this path, be united and give our all, as we have always done. If we play with that spirit, we'll reach our objectives and be satisfied."
Motivation will be high to defend second place and reach the Champions League...
"We're really motivated because we're banking on qualifying for next season's Champions League, also because we only missed out on goal difference last season after the league got suspended due to the pandemic."
What do you think about your own season?
"There's always something to work on and I always try to give my all to help the team. I'll tell you at the end of the season whether I'm totally satisfied on a personal level. We're working well as a group of defenders; we're the second-best defence in the league. We want to do well and we're trying to keep it this way - and why not even improve. If we can be safe and secure, the rest of the team can play with more freedom. In general, we need to improve in certain aspects, but we're having a great season."
A new aspect of the 2020/21 season in terms of tactics has been the three-at-the-back system; who are you getting on with this formation?
"I'm doing well - I played in this system at Brescia too. It means we can cover each other while, at the same time, getting on the front foot when the situation allows it. The 3-5-2 also fits all of our characteristics."
It’s derby week: are you excited?
"It is an important match for the championship, the Derbies have always been very heartfelt games, not just for those who play in them. They are games for which there is no need to get charged up because you always want to play them. That being said, we will meet Inter on Sunday, but there will be other matches after, they are all important and they will all be finals."
Inter beat you in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final: will you be ‘out for revenge’ in the league as well as the return leg?
"We lost in the Coppa Italia, Inter are a good team with strong individuals. Therefore, we have to be even more concentrated and fight for every single ball, that way we can prove our quality. Winning on Sunday will give us even more strength for the second leg of the cup."
You have been here since the beginning of the Rossonere: How much has the AC Milan Women’s team grown over the years?
"The team has grown a lot, especially in terms of mentality. Even if we are not yet recognised at a legislative level, we feel like real professionals and the club treats us like professionals. We feel the value of the shirt we wear, and important values have been transmitted to us, all starting with the attachment to these colours."
Building on the last question: how much room for growth do you see in the team?
"A lot because most of the players arrived this year. The more you play together, the more you find the right chemistry. Some teammates arrived in the summer, Vero in November, Hasegawa in late January. Having consistency and getting to know each other in football, everyone with their own technical skills, gives added value to the whole group."
Baresi and Puyol: The former, you asked his permission to wear the number six jersey, and the latter is your idol: What prompted you to become a centre back and what do you appreciate most about the role?
"Maybe not everyone knows this, but I started my playing career in midfield, and to make up for absences due to injuries I changed my position and began playing at centre back. It's a role that I really like. You are the last obstacle before the goal and your job is to give security to the team. Puyol is my idol, he is a champion on and off the pitch, he is gritty, he always gives his all and he never misses an opportunity to help his teammates. As for Baresi, it’s an honour for me to wear the number six jersey that was also worn by such a great defender and captain. I'm just sorry that I didn't see many of his matches live because I was little. Having him by our side today and playing with his shirt is wonderful."
The PUMA jerseys for the 2020/21 season are now available! Visit the AC Milan online store!