Clarence Seedorf is glad old Sampdoria teammate Sinisa Mihajlovic is back as Coach and stood up for Milan’s ‘bad boy’ Mario Balotelli.
The two teams face off on Sunday at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
“It was my first experience outside of Holland and I am grateful for the year I spent in Genoa,” said Seedorf of his 1995-96 campaign at Marassi.
“I am happy that now Sinisa is back helping this club as a Coach. Samp are a courageous side who start their attacking moves from the back. They have dangerous forwards and others who can push up between the lines. We must have the right focus on their home turf.”
The Rossoneri are fresh from a 1-0 Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid, although they hit the woodwork twice.
“It is only the first leg result and that’s the way we want to look at it. We’ll hold on to the performance when preparing for another important test against a team in good shape tomorrow.
“Our motivation is to improve with every game. We are helping each other out more on the field, finding the right spirit and I’d like us to continue along that path.
“We were a bit unlucky with the goal we conceded against Atletico and could do with being a bit more careful on set plays. Considering the level of the game we were playing on Wednesday, everyone could see the positive things we did. We now hope that the team can show that with more consistency.
“The performance against Atletico gave us great confidence. We know that we’re not out of the woods yet, which makes us aware we must continue to grow and remain concentrated.”
Keisuke Honda was cup-tied and will therefore start tomorrow against Sampdoria, but Mario Balotelli and Mattia De Sciglio are out after picking up injuries.
“You can raise your voices on the foul that De Sciglio was subjected to. There’s no need for me to do it,” shrugged Seedorf when asked if that should’ve been a red card for Emiliano Insua.
France Football claimed Balotelli was in the top 10 of their all-time list of football bad boys, but his Coach is confused.
“I still have to understand where this ‘bad’ is in Balotelli. It’s a shame that such an important paper should write things like this. Mario is a sweet kid and very likeable. He might make the odd mistake, like any other player, but since I’ve been here he has worked with a professional and determined attitude. I’m happy with him.
“Adel Taarabt is a player with great talent and his margin for improvement is enormous. He is only now finding consistency and I hope he can continue working this hard. All the reports we had from those who played with him said he had pure talent, but hadn’t yet been given faith by a club. He’s a diamond in the rough.
“Andrea Poli is an important player. I don’t know if he’ll play tomorrow, as he used up a lot of energy on Wednesday and I have to evaluate the future games too.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!