Inter Team Manager Dejan Stankovic explains what it’s like to play in a Milan Derby and awaits Sinisa Mihajlovic at San Siro.
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“It will certainly be a different Inter-Milan for me,” the Serbian midfielder told Inter.it.
“When as a player you reached the week of the derby, you immediately felt something different. Almost without realising, the alert level was raised.
“As a director, I feel the same sort of pressure and tension after experiencing all these months with the staff preparing the team and transfer strategy.
“After watching every single training session, we are curious to see where we’re at. The club had a spectacular transfer market and I am sure the Coach, with all his talent and experience, will put the best team out.
“We won’t be judged by this game, but I can’t wait to experience it. That anticipation is the dominant sensation.
“As staff, we have to make the players feel relaxed and confident. Cool heads and fiery hearts, not the other way round, otherwise you risk doing something you’ll regret.
“Even on the pitch I saw players who couldn’t handle the tension. That’s the derby, you can never know what will happen or who will decide it. That’s what makes it so amazing.
“I always say the Milan Derby is like opening night at La Scala. It happens twice a year, as rare as it is wonderful.”
Stankovic certainly has plenty of experience to pass on to players making their Milan Derby debuts.
“It’s an incredible feeling to see certainty in the eyes of your teammates. If you see someone confused or frightened, that’s the moment to go over and pat him on the back, show him the way forward. An off day can happen to anyone, we are not robots.”
Many of those derbies saw Stankovic working with Mihajlovic, who is now the Coach of rivals Milan.
“We had many battles together, at San Siro, for Serbia and with Lazio. He’s a reference point for me in my private life too. He’s more than a friend; he’s the godfather to my children and almost like a big brother or an uncle for me.
“I am happy for him, as starting from scratch he’s in charge of a big club, even though he’s still young. I’ll try to beat him over the 90 minutes, to win and enjoy the victory, but after the final whistle there’s so much more to life.”
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