Massimiliano Allegri expects a difficult match as Milan visit Fiorentina for the lunchtime kick-off, but insists “it is not decisive” for a Champions League spot.
It is effectively a play-off for third place, as six points separate third-placed Milan from Fiorentina in fourth. It kicks off at 11.30am UK time (10.30 GMT), click here for a match preview.
“This will be a very difficult match, seeing as we are playing away from home and Fiorentina have such passionate fans. The time of day also makes it unusual, so we have to play as a team,” warned Allegri in his Press conference.
“We need a good performance in technical terms and it will be crucial to interpret each moment of the game the right way. However, it is not decisive for third place.
“There are still eight games to go, although this is certainly an important match and we need the points to not only secure third place, but also keep up the pressure on Napoli for second.”
Vincenzo Montella’s men won at San Siro earlier this season, but Fiorentina haven’t beaten Milan at the Stadio Franchi since 2005, managing two draws and four defeats.
It is a special game for Riccardo Montolivo, who left Fiorentina on a free transfer when he refused to sign a new contract.
“It will be an important match both for him and Giampaolo Pazzini, as they both gave a lot to Fiorentina. Perhaps there will be jeers, but I think those are just to put them under pressure. The Viola fans know what these players did for them.
“It’s a shame Massimo Ambrosini misses out, seeing as he had such a great game against Chievo. Without him, it’s likely Montolivo will play in front of the defence,” concluded Allegri.
“I tested out a 4-2-3-1 system in training with Pazzini and Mario Balotelli. It can be used during a game, but I hope not, because that would mean we were chasing the result.
“Cristian Zapata returns tomorrow, while I have a doubt between Mattia De Sciglio and Kevin Constant. De Sciglio is the favourite.”
Milan squad for Fiorentina: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Abate, Antonini, Bonera, De Sciglio, Mexes, Yepes, Zaccardo, Zapata, Boateng, Constant, Flamini, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Balotelli, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Pazzini, Robinho