Saturday December 21 2013
Allegri: 'No Mazzarri row'

Massimiliano Allegri denied problems with his Inter counterpart Walter Mazzarri ahead of the Milan Derby.

The Derby della Madonnina kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

Allegri and Inter Coach Mazzarri both hail from Livorno and have clashed in the past, so the derby will also be on the touchline.

“I think Inter are having a great season. Mazzarri’s strength is his organisation, both attacking and defending. It’s going to be a difficult game against an angry, experienced and fired up side, so we must do well,” said Allegri.

“I’ve never had any rows with Mazzarri. It can happen to exchange a few jokey comments before a big game. Tomorrow we’ll salute each other because it’s the normal thing to do and I hope it will be a wonderful match. He’s laying the foundations for a significant future at Inter.”

The Rossoneri bench is under fire, as once again today there are reports Clarence Seedorf or Cesare Prandelli are ready to replace Allegri over the summer.

“The first thing they teach you on your management training course is that you are alone and with the suitcase in your hand. Talking about my future on the eve of a derby is pointless and I don’t want to discuss it.

“The squad must not be distracted by this talk. Our duty is to climb up the table, get through the next round of the Champions League and reach the Coppa Italia Final.

“I’d rather talk about the derby and the fact Inter will have their fans in the Curva Nord. This is a positive thing, as playing the derby with a full stadium has a different atmosphere.

“I had started my derby career well by winning my first three, but after that I’ve lost three and drawn one. Both sides want to win, so I’m sure it will be an entertaining encounter and Inter are playing good football.”

Urby Emanuelson needs a fitness test after he was stretchered off against Roma, but Riccardo Montolivo is suspended with Stephan El Shaarawy, Robinho, Valter Birsa, Ignazio Abate and Matias Silvestre sidelined.

“After the Christmas break we will have some players back and I believe this team will climb up the standings. If we play the way we did against Roma, then we’re unlikely to get a result tomorrow, as we made too many mistakes from a technical point of view.

“Kaka is doing very well and taking his share of the responsibility both on and off the field. We’re missing some players, so have reduced options tomorrow.

“Mario Balotelli has done well both as a lone centre-forward and with someone next to him. Alessandro Matri can be more of a lead striker, freeing up spaces and allowing Mario to move between the lines.

“I think Balotelli is relaxed about the derby, as he is playing well and working for the team. He knows it is an important match and people expect a lot from him, so I am sure it’ll be a fine performance.”

Meanwhile, Allegri confirmed teenage forward M’Baye Niang will go out on loan in January, most likely with Montpellier.

“I think it’s a good choice for the lad. He is only 19 and started well, but too much responsibility was put on his shoulders. There are times when things go well or less well, but that’s part of the growth process.

“Adil Rami and Keisuke Honda are two good signings and I think from January onwards this team can do great things.”

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