Roberto Donadoni explained the secret to Parma’s success, dealing with Antonio Cassano and ignoring the Milan crisis.
The Coach steps back into San Siro on Sunday at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
“It is going to be a difficult game, Milan want to get back on track and have a squad with great quality,” said Donadoni in his Press conference.
“However, we must focus only on ourselves. We need to try to show our best qualities and keep raising the bar on an individual and collective level so we can bring home another positive result. That is the mission.”
The Ducali are on a club record 15-round Serie A unbeaten run and consolidated sixth place with last week’s win over Verona.
“We are in a positive moment, but we must make the most of it without being superficial. We still need to prove ourselves, especially in an important and complicated game like the one that awaits us.”
Milan, on the other hand, have lost their last two Serie A matches and were knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday, 5-1 on aggregate by Atletico Madrid.
There will be a fan protest in the stands, targeting CEO Adriano Galliani and star player Mario Balotelli among others.
“We mustn’t let ourselves get distracted by what will happen off the field tomorrow, as it would be a huge risk and counter-productive for us,” continued Donadoni.
“I want to be concentrated on my team and focusing my energy on that. I lived a different era at Milan, not the current one.
“Those who base their own success on how they measure up to others are losers. We have to think only of our own path, with no calculations and no distractions.”
Former Milan star Donadoni also spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the Sunday afternoon game.
“When you go out of the Champions League like that and are inconsistent in Serie A, it is only normal for criticism to rain down on you. However, they need the right balance, especially in difficult moments.
“Unfortunately, Italian football always piles too much tension on to situations. It will be very difficult for us, as we are without Gabriel Paletta due to suspension and Milan have a thousand reasons to give it everything they’ve got.
“This is the worst possible moment to face the Rossoneri. Having said that, we have no intention of stopping.
“The key to our success is in our desire to improve every day in every training session. To aim high, we’ve got to enjoy the struggle. If that feeling is there, then I am happy.
“The important thing is to realise an entire season cannot be judged on just one result – and that goes for Milan as well as Parma. Am I the Coach of the moment? If I am, then it’s down to the players who got me to that level.
“As a player at Milan, they used to call me ‘bone’ – because I would not let things go. That’s what I’m like, as to go home after a training session I must feel I’ve given my all. I am very demanding with myself and consequently with others too.”
Donadoni worked with the greats at San Siro, so is he more like Arrigo Sacchi or Fabio Capello in his management career?
“Sacchi was non-stop. The only thing in his head was football. Capello was less intense, but still very demanding. He wasn’t a hard man at all, as you could have a row and the day after it was all back to normal. He understood things and ensured he was understood.”
Antonio Cassano had problems at Milan and with Capello at Real Madrid, but seems to have found his niche at Parma.
“What method did I use with him? Dialogue. Antonio can be extremely difficult to control, but also very easy. It depends on how you approach him. At this precise moment, it’s impossible not to care about him. In December he was stirring up trouble and then I had to bring the best out of myself to calm him down.
“I spoke to him, I listened and these are the results. In football terms he has another gear. In Italy the only others with talent like him are Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti. He belongs in the top 10 players in the world.
“Parma has a family atmosphere that is beyond mere cliché. The other day they were all together for dinner and nobody had obliged them to be there. In my many years at Milan, things like that never happened. In the long run, that makes the difference.”
Donadoni had similar advice for Milan and Cesare Prandelli in their treatment of Mario Balotelli.
“If we really want what is good for him, the less we talk about Balotelli, the better.”