Riccardo Montolivo has reflected on the many reasons for Milan wanting to defeat Inter this weekend, and on Clarence Seedorf and Mario Balotelli.
The under-pressure Diavolo head into the Milan derby this weekend six points behind the Nerazzurri and still just in the mathematical hunt for Europa League qualification.
For the club’s captain, there are a number of reasons for taking a win this Week 36.
“First of all, for us this should be a derby of pride, to redeem a season that has not been great and to try to take a Europa League qualification place, and to avenge the derby from the first round,” Montolivo has told the Corriere dello Sport this week.
“In short, for many reasons. We want to win. However, it is not that one game, even if it is the derby, can lift an entire season from being negative.
“I would like to win more now that I have the captain’s armband. With Inter we are behind six points and with only three rounds to play that is many.
“But we cannot make calculations. If we go and win then it goes to -3 and it changes the discourse.”
The Rossoneri head into the derby having seen recent form ended by defeat to second place Roma.
“Roma are superior to us, at least at this time. The League has shown this, the game confirmed it.
“We were clearly unable to overcome them. It is a bridge to gap from all points of view.
“On some occasions we have lost due to bad luck, in others we have actually deserved it.”
Clarence Seedorf’s tenure as Coach looks set to end in the summer.
“He’s always very clear, available to the players, very focused on what we need to do, game after game.
“His future? It is very difficult to look into, the next three games are the future. The market, the budget, the technical direction, it is not for us to be making predictions on.
“It is difficult to make a judgement. Who will be on the Milan bench next? At this time my Coach is Clarence Seedorf.
“My relationship with him? I think I always have the confidence of the Coach.”
It was speculated that prior to the recent Catania match, Seedorf was intending to not select Montolivo, before Milan officials intervened and he started.
“I was not in the team as a starter during training in the week. It’s not that I always play all the games, even if I am captain. The day before the game he announced his choice. It is legitimate for a Coach to make these decisions.
“You pay for this. The group is united. It is clear that there are antipathies and sympathies, and others who are used less…someone is penalised, someone else less so…there is, in short, those who can be disappointed.
“I think that Seedorf has always selected the best team, the most in-form players have gone on to the field.
“In Rome, we were not up to the task. In many cases we have lacked the belief that we could win this confrontations.
“Is there a respect for Inter? Of course. There are major players such as Palacio. I especially love Kovacic. Mazzarri is very good at giving the right attitude to the team, preparing ‘ad hoc’ with respect to the characteristics of their opponents.
“We must be prepared, we have the quality to put Inter under difficulty.”
Montolivo was asked about the recent debate over Mario Balotelli’s form for the team.
“Certainly the team has not presented Mario with the best conditions. Balotelli, however, has many great qualities. You expect a lot from him, as it is for those who are most talented.
“The interview with Sky? There is a well-defined rotation for interviews and it was down to him…you have to appreciate his gesture because he showed his face, this should be given credit.
“Balotelli must be able to fulfil his potential to the fullest, but he has been unable to do so with continuity. He must learn to better manage his character.”