Roberto De Zerbi insists Sassuolo’s campaign is being underrated ahead of their trip to San Siro, but wants them to learn from Milan’s fighting spirit.
It kicks off on Saturday at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
“Playing in front of 60,000 people is not the same as with 10,000, so it’s a privilege and I hope can further motivate everyone to get a great result at San Siro,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“This team had always been in the top half of the table so far this season and it’s true that for a few weeks we’ve been struggling and dropped down the standings, but that’s true of many sides. It’s important to give credit where it’s due and appreciate just how well we did in the first few months.
“People expect too much from us, as Parma lost 3-0 to Napoli and were applauded on home turf, whereas we get jeered after a draw with SPAL. We are on 31 points and so far it has been a very good campaign.”
Losing Kevin-Prince Boateng to Barcelona in January was a heavy blow to Sassuolo’s ambitions and prestige, not to mention their attacking potential, scoring only two goals in their last four games.
“The finishing also depends on how we create the chances, so goals are not just down to the strikers. We need everyone to improve their self-confidence and determination.
“I watched back the SPAL game and there are three or four situations where with a little more sharpness we could’ve gone clear on goal. That’s where we need to improve, as if we can’t score with four opportunities, we’d best create 10.”
Milan, on the other hand, have been clinical of late with Krzysztof Piatek making a huge impact since his January arrival from Genoa.
“In my view, Piatek can become one of the top five centre-forwards in the world,” continued De Zerbi.
“If I had to pinpoint a quality of Milan, I’d say this is a team with a soul and we’ve got to find our soul, because that makes the difference more than tactics or fitness levels. Milan now know how to stick together and fight when it gets tough.”
Alfred Duncan is suspended, while Marlon is injured and winger Enrico Brignola fractured his hand.
“I am keeping Federico Di Francesco in mind, but he is training with lumbago at the moment and is not at 100 per cent. Pol Lirola is fatigued, Rogerio could also require a rest, but not necessarily tomorrow.
“I will give one clue as to my line-up and that’s Francesco Magnanelli will start, as he is in good shape, did very well against SPAL and is 100 per cent both physically and psychologically.”
Sassuolo squad for Milan: Satalino, Consigli, Pegolo; Demiral, Lemos, Rogerio, Peluso, Sernicola, Lirola, Magnani, Ferrari, Adjapong; Magnanelli, Djuricic, Sensi, Bourabia, Locatelli; Matri, Scamacca, Odgaard, Boga, Berardi, Babacar, Di Francesco