Pippo Inzaghi predicts Milan will beat Sampdoria tomorrow and revealed his talks with Sinisa Mihajlovic.
It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.
“We know this is a very important game for us, but we have to approach it with a clear head,” said Coach Inzaghi in his Press conference.
“They are all decisive for us this season and we are well aware that if it goes badly, the usual criticism will erupt again. We are very focused and hope for a positive performance.
“I always said we ought to have done better regardless of injuries, but it’s also true that recently training sessions have felt very different. We’ve got more competition for places and good results bring confidence too.
“We also have players like Alessio Cerci and Mattia Destro who arrived in January, so need a little more time to settle into our mechanisms.”
Sampdoria are in fifth place and so this is a head-to-head for European qualification at San Siro, where Milan are revived after two consecutive victories.
“We need the same Milan we saw at Palermo. We are not interested in Sampdoria’s attitude, because we will be very aggressive.
“It’s a fundamental test for us and if we play well, it’s easier to win. If we play well and don’t win, we can still look to the future with more optimism. I am convinced we’ll win, so let’s see if my prophecy comes true.”
It’s a special game for Inzaghi, as Samp Coach Mihajlovic has repeatedly been linked with his position on the Milan bench next season.
“It makes me smile, it’s all bar talk. In my most difficult moment, the first message I received to spur me on was from Mihajlovic. Therefore I am happy if he does well in every other game this season.
“Would I punish players the way he did? We all have our own way of training. My idol, for example, is Carlo Ancelotti. I didn’t like training retreats as a player and I don’t tend to rely on them now, but at times they can be useful.
“I think when a club signs a Coach like me, they should know what they’re getting into, both the good and the bad. If Milan are happy with me then I’ll continue here with great desire and affection. I’d like to repay them for this faith.”
Keisuke Honda is out injured, while Giacomo Bonaventura and Marco van Ginkel need fitness tests. There are also concerns, as Jeremy Menez is one booking away from suspension going into the Milan Derby.
“I didn’t ask Menez anything in particular, although obviously if he gets a stupid booking then I will get angry. There are situations and others that happen naturally.”
SuperPippo also moved to reassure Destro, who has scored only twice since arriving on loan from Roma.
“I once had three or four months without scoring, so these things do happen. I don’t just evaluate players by how many goals they score. He’s doing well and just needs to participate a little more in the overall development of the game.
“Will we make his move permanent? I won’t talk about these things now. Tomorrow he will play and continue doing well, favouring Menez with his movements.”
Sulley Muntari, however, has agreed by mutual consent to be left out unless there’s an emergency, as he knows he is not part of their plans for next season.
Many fans and pundits saw this attitude as disrespectful, but Inzaghi defended the Ghana international.
“He was very professional about it. He asked me not to be called up unless we had a problem with our midfield.”