We can’t afford any more slip-ups if we are to catch Inter, says Gattuso
AC Milan go into Wednesday’s derby eight points behind their rivals.
AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso thinks Wednesday’s Derby della Madonnina is “like a final” as his side look to keep their Champions League aspirations alive.
Gattuso’s men go into the game eight points behind fierce rivals Inter Milan, who sit in the fourth and final Champions League spot.
Anything but victory would leave sixth-placed Milan with a mammoth gap to make up in their final eight Serie A games.
And Gattuso, whose 10-match unbeaten league run was ended by Juventus on Saturday, knows his side cannot afford to slip up.
“The derby isn’t always won by the best team,” he told his pre-match press conference according to Milan’s website.
“We have to play a really good game from a technical, tactical and defensive standpoint.
“It’s like a final for us and we have been playing several finals lately.
“We can’t make any false step if we want to still believe we can qualify for the next Champions League.”
Inter are in fine form, having taken 10 points from their last four games, but Gattuso thinks his men are also playing well after being happy with his side’s display in the 3-1 defeat against the league leaders on Saturday.
Gattuso added: “Inter have changed in the past two-to-three weeks, they have scored 10 goals and conceded none.
“They are in really good shape but so are we because against Juve we played a really good game. There’s a lot at stake in this derby and I hope to play the same quality game we had against Juve.”
The last three league clashes between the teams have been high on drama. Both games last season ended 2-2, with each team rescuing a point with added-time equalisers, while Inter won 3-2 in October after a last-minute Mauro Icardi penalty.
Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, whose side are a point ahead of Lazio in fifth, expects another exciting encounter with high stakes on the line.
“I know what we have to gain from this match and the players know as well,” he said in his press conference, according to Inter’s website.
“The attitude of the team will be what decides it for the winning side.
“This is a derby that has features that I like, it’s played with the top spots at stake.
“It’s a derby worthy of a marvellous city such as Milan.”
Inter go into the game with a full squad, with Andrea Ranocchia back in contention after a hamstring injury.
But Milan are missing Lucas Biglia, who sits out a one-match ban after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign during the Juventus game.