Gennaro Gattuso insists tiredness is no excuse as he targets a return to winning ways with AC Milan.
The Rossoneri sit a point behind Sunday’s fourth-placed opponents Lazio in the Serie A table after a three-match winning streak was ended by leaders Juventus just before the international break.
Milan lost striker Gonzalo Higuain to a red card during that 2-0 loss and this week the Argentinian lost an appeal against his suspension, meaning he misses out at the Stadio Olimpico.
Mattia Caldara, Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura, Mateo Musacchio and Alessio Romagnoli are among the San Siro stars on the sidelines at present.
Several of Gattuso’s other key players are fit but were on international duty over the last fortnight, and the head coach hopes they can carry momentum rather than fatigue into the Rome clash.
“Some of our boys are tired,” the Milan boss said at a press conference. “They are just returning from international matches.
“We know it is a difficult time due to injuries but that should not be a reason for excuses.
“I can see a vibrant squad, even those who are returning from their respective national teams.
“I really like the spirit and I am very satisfied.”
Responding to reports that Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 37, might be tempted to return in Rossonero after his time with the Los Angeles Galaxy is over, Gattuso said: “He is always keen to wear a shirt that has a glorious history and of course he could be useful to us.”
Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi knows all too well that Milan have plenty of alternatives despite their injury list.
“We’re expecting a difficult game, in which we’ll have to meet the challenge head on,” he said on Saturday afternoon.
“Milan have many great players and we know the threats they possess. We have to contain Suso and (Hakan) Calhanoglu.”
“It’s a match against a direct rival and we can take a lot of confidence from the position we currently occupy in the table, and from our performances in the Europa League.
“We know Milan will be switched on as they’re managed by a great coach like Gattuso, a real motivator who always sets up his team in the best way. We have to take the game to them and watch out for their counter-attacks.”