Milan coach Stefano Pioli said the Derby della Madonnina against Inter will be ‘an important and difficult exam’ for his players and confirmed Zlatan Ibrahimovic ‘will be ready’.
The first Milan derby of the season is upon us and both sides have started the season well, but Pioli pointed out that the Diavolo are still under development and facing a new ‘exam’ every week.
“Milan have their own identity and their way of playing, in our work the exams never end,” Pioli said at a press conference.
“This is an important and difficult exam. I had very little time available but the same applies to our opponents.
“Our journey began a year ago and we have ample room for improvement, but we respect the opponents, who are seen as probable winners of the championship.
“We enter the pitch with conviction.”
Despite not having the usual rivalry in the stands, Pioli believes the meeting between the local foes will be ‘heartfelt’.
“The rivalry is felt, unfortunately there will be no fans,” Pioli added. “But that it’s a heartfelt match is certainly true.
“We must prepare for this match in the best possible way and play better than our opponents.”
Milan have won all three games in Serie A 2020-21 and are being confident ahead of the big match, but Pioli stressed Inter will be the same.
“I was hoping to reach the derby with three wins in the League and get through the rounds in Europe.
“We arrived here doing well but our opponents are doing well too. Beating Inter would give us enthusiasm, but we take one game at a time.
“We think about growing and improving.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recovered from coronavirus ahead of the meeting with his former club and Pioli believes he will be ‘ready’ for the important match at San Siro.
“He had a problem, but I found him as always,” the coach said about the Swedish veteran.
“Smiling, strong-willed, determined and generous. He’s fine, but it’s clear that he only had a week of training. But he’s ready to play.”