Clarence Seedorf explained his tactical switch against Inter and an “emotional” 1-0 Milan Derby victory.
“It was an emotional derby, as always, and I was proud to see how the team fought hard and received deserved applause at the end,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
The Rossoneri got back on track after last week’s 2-0 defeat to Roma and are right in the thick of the race for a Europa League spot.
The top six go into Europe and Milan are currently joint seventh with Parma, one point behind Torino and three shy of Inter.
“We declared that we want to fight to the end for this target, which is tough as there are so many teams involved in the race. We continue to believe and beat an Inter side that battled, but my lads had something more in terms of determination and solidity.
“They did very well in defence, as it’s not easy to mark Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio.”
Seedorf surprised by moving to a 4-3-1-2 system with Adel Taarabt behind Ricky Kaka and Mario Balotelli.
“We had a diamond midfield with Balotelli and Kaka helping out in defence and Taarabt on Esteban Cambiasso. It was very important to keep an eye on Cambiasso, as he can become very dangerous when Inter have possession and often combines with Palacio, so we tried to limit that connection as much as possible.
“The defence is stronger when the whole team works to help out. They understand now how important it is to be aggressive and double up the marking. Nigel De Jong, for example, did brilliantly to be the extra man in defence.”
Despite splendid results, Seedorf remains in doubt for next season, as the club remains unconvinced.
“I am accustomed to criticising myself and have done throughout my career. I consider myself a winner and a winner gives his all. I want to thank the team for their efforts and I was confident over the week, as I could see how concentrated they were in training.
“The way they celebrate together on the field says more than words could. The season isn’t over yet and we have a tough game against Atalanta next week, so we will enjoy the derby win tonight and then begin preparing.”
When discussing the tactical switch, Seedorf hinted it was a move towards the vision of President Silvio Berlusconi.
“My first concern was to find solidity in the two phases. This team has achieved that recently. In this game I wanted to surprise Inter by changing the system, especially as I said the philosophy was more important than the system.
“We know the President likes this system and for next season we eventually have plans to play more in this shape.
“I am working in a relaxed situation thanks to the team that is eager to fight hard for Milan. I can joke about the situation.”
CEO Adriano Galliani was asked about Seedorf’s future and only said he has a two-year contract.
“It’s what I said in the Press conference too. Is it a confirmation? It is a great truth,” laughed the Dutchman.