D’Ambrosio: “We need to win for our fans and because of our history”

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Danilo D’Ambrosio spoke alongside Matteo Politano during Inter’s pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match at home to PSV Eindhoven. Indeed, it will be a decisive game for the Nerazzurri, who must better Tottenham Hotspur’s result against leaders Barcelona in order to reach the Round of 16 stage of the competition. Here is what the former Torino full-back said to the gathered journalists in Appiano Gentile: Continue reading

Spalletti: “The PSV match is the most important one since I’ve been here”

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Earlier this afternoon, Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference at the Suning Training Centre ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match against reigning Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. Here is what the 59-year-old Tuscan said to the journalists in attendance: “This match is the most important one since I’ve been here and it represents the next step that follows on from Lazio vs. Inter on 20 May. Since I’ve been here, we’ve got the points and put in the performances that we needed. Now, we’re here to play for a spot in the last 16 on the final day of the group stage. Continue reading

Spalletti deserves criticism for handing initiative to Juventus in Derby d’Italia

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“It’s unfortunate that we lost, but we were the team that had the bigger chances during the game. But this is Juventus’s strength: we more than matched them, but they know how to fully capitalise on their opportunities. We didn’t manage to find the back of the net, however. We could have got a better result tonight, but we’ll try to take good heart from the good things we did tonight: on Tuesday evening, we have to win at San Siro in front of our fans, who are always fantastic.” Continue reading

Roma and Lazio drop points, AC Milan with a golden opportunity

Tomorrow evening, AC Milan will take on Torino at the San Siro, following an important win against Parma last weekend. Despite the long injury list, Gattuso’s men will look to continue their positive run, as a win would put them closer to their city rivals Inter. 

Last weekend, the Rossoneri put in a good performance against Parma, eventually grabbing the win after going down early in the second half. Considering the number of injuries on important players, Gattuso has certainly proved that his team is mentally strong, being able to focus on one game at a time. Not only was the win important for the team’s self-esteem, but it also saw them jump to 4th place, as Lazio failed to beat Chievo away from home.

However, even though Parma have started their season well, it’s expected that the clash with Torino will be slightly tougher. Il Toro have lost only one of their last nine league matches: four wins and four draws. In addition to this, they are one of the two sides (alongside Juventus) to have lost none of their away games in Serie A this season. Milan, on the other hand, are unbeaten at the San Siro against Torino in Serie A since 1985: 15 wins and seven draws since then. In other words, tomorrow’s encounter will be interesting.

According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Gattuso will only make one change to the line-up. Calabria and Rodriguez will start as the full-backs, while Abate and Zapata will pair up once again in front of Donnarumma in goal. In the middle, Bakayoko and Kessie will start once again, getting the support of Suso and Calhanoglu on the flanks.

Up front, however, is where the change will be. As Higuain has served his two-game ban, Gattuso will revert back to two strikers, also fielding the youngster Patrick Cutrone, who scored one of the two goals last weekend.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-4-2): Donnarumma; Calabria, Abate, Zapata, Rodriguez; Suso, Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Higuain, Cutrone.

More importantly, Milan need to take advantage of the situation. Lazio and Roma, fifth and sixth respectively, both dropped points today. The former had the lead up until the 99th minute when former Milan man Saponara scored the equaliser, while Cagliari’s Sau scored in the 95th minute to tie it up against the Giallorossi. 

With that said, Gattuso’s men will have the chance to gain a three-point advantage on Lazio, as well as a seven-point advantage on Roma. In addition to this, a win would get them within one point of their city rivals Inter, who are currently on 29 points after their loss yesterday away at Juventus. In other words, the pressure will be on Milan to deliver tomorrow, although you could also argue that Roma and Lazio’s results might calm them down a little.

In any case, should the Rossoneri continue their fine form recently, then they should be able to beat Torino in front of their home crowd. However, as we all know with Milan these days, you can never take anything for granted.

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Spalletti: “We did well for long spells, but we’re still too careless at times”

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Luciano Spalletti was understandably frustrated by the manner in which his Inter side were defeated 1-0 by Juventus in tonight’s showpiece Derby d’Italia at Allianz Stadium in Turin. Indeed, the 59-year-old Tuscan made it perfectly clear to the media after the match that he was not satisfied with the way his players handled themselves during the crucial moments, particularly during the second half. Here is what he said: “We did quite well in the game, the team played some great football but we got things wrong at certain times which cannot happen against Juventus. Continue reading

Spalletti: “We’ll face Juventus with courage and determination”

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Ahead of tonight’s Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter, Nerazzurri coach Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon. The 59-year-old Tuscan was full of praise for the Bianconeri and the way in which they have continually strengthened their squad over the course of the past few years. Here is what he had to say to the gathered journalists at the Suning Training Centre: Continue reading

Why Inter must take a proactive approach against Juventus on Friday night

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“I would absolutely not be content with a point at the Juventus Stadium. We go there to play it without fear, as that must be the mentality of a sportsman.” Those were the words of Inter captain Mauro Icardi in response to a question about the Nerazzurri’s plan of attack ahead of Friday night’s crucial Derby d’Italia against the Bianconeri. Continue reading

Spalletti right to ask for more from ace marksman Icardi

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“Icardi is truly a hitman. It becomes difficult to ask him for anything else, because when it counts, he’s there to finish these chances. At times he should be closer to the rest of the team and help hold the ball up, but on the other hand, he is so lethal because that’s how he plays. Icardi has this great confidence and even arrogance in front of goal. Those are his characteristics, he scores goals and brings home points. I think he’d do even more if he came deeper and combined with the midfielders, but I think he is working hard to improve that area of his game. It goes a long way back, his style of play.” Continue reading

Spalletti: “Rocchi refereed well and there was one incident for each side”

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Luciano Spalletti and Francesco Totti found themselves at loggerheads once again in the aftermath of last night’s 2-2 draw between Roma and Inter at the Stadio Olimpico. The pair famously clashed during the 2016/17 campaign, with Spalletti standing accused of ‘forcing’ the player to retire against the wishes of the Giallorossi’s passionate fanbase. Indeed, the Romans opted to send Totti to speak to the media, rather than coach Eusebio Di Francesco and his players, such were their frustrations with the way in which the game was refereed by Gianluca Rocchi. Continue reading

Mauri to get the chance as Gattuso changes formation again

After their roller-coaster performance against Dudelange in the Europa League, AC Milan will hope to look a bit more convincing on Sunday, as they take on Parma in the early kick-off game. 

Following an impressive display against Lazio, given which players started in defence, it was expected that Gattuso would continue with three men at the back. However, according to the latest reports from Sky Italia, he will switch back to the 4-3-3, having already brought back the four-man backline against Dudelange.

With that said, it also means that the Rossoneri will have to play with three midfielders, which may seem like an odd choice from Gattuso considering the players at his disposal. If you watched the Dudelange game, though, you will know that Jose Mauri really impressed when coming on in the second half, and thus it is believed that he will start tomorrow.

Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing Simic from the first minute, even though he surpassed expectations against Dudelange. Instead, full-back Abate will slot in alongside Zapata, while Calabria will occupy the right-back spot. One could argue that if Mauri, who hasn’t played much more than Simic, gets the chance, then the Czech defender should also be in the running.

In any case, Milan will certainly have to perform better than against Dudelange. Sure, they won by five goals to two in the end, but the leading up to that wasn’t convincing at all. Against Lazio, we saw a completely different team, though this is probably because of yet another formation change. In other words, there has been a lack of consistency as of late, which is understandable given the number of injuries. However, moving forward, Gattuso will have to settle for one formation, in addition to a back-up.

Likely AC Milan XI vs. Parma (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Abate, Zapata, Rodriguez; Kessie, Mauri, Bakayoko; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu.

Shifting focus to the Parma, who are sixth in the league, they will be a hard team to beat. This season, they have already won once at the San Siro, beating Inter by a scoreline of one goal to nil. In fact, Parma have alternated between a win and a defeat in their six away games this season, keeping only one clean sheet (you guessed it, at the San Siro against Inter).

However, if you look at stats, Milan have a clear advantage. The Rossoneri have scored at least two goals in eight of their last nine Serie A games against Parma (an average of 2.8 per game), while winning 13 of their last 16 games against the team in question at San Siro. With that said, knowing Milan, stats almost never matter and it’s certain that they will need to be at their best tomorrow.

After all, against a struggling defence, the likes of Gervinho and Inglese could cause some problems and possibly even get on the scoresheet. Given that Milan conceded two goals against Dudelange, this scenario is not unlikely, though Rossoneri fans will hope that the defence can play as against Lazio.

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