AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso says Wednesday’s derby against Inter in the Coppa Italia will be “like a World Cup final” for his side.
Milan have lost two straight games in Serie A, failing to score against either Hellas Verona or Atalanta, and will now look to end their skid in the Coppa quarterfinal against their local rivals.
And Gattuso was not playing down the importance of the cup clash as his side attempt to get their season back on track.
“This is like a World Cup final for us,” Gattuso told Milan TV. “Nobody expected this many difficulties, but this derby can change our season on both a psychological level and in terms of results.
“I want to see everything we are doing, but above all to put the ball in the net. We’ve got to last longer than 25 minutes and hold out even after an incident goes against us.”
The coach also suggested the game will not be an especially pretty one as they take on Inter, who are also coming off back-to-back defeats in the league.
“The derby is always different to any other game,” he said. “Beautiful football is pointless here, as we need determination, hunger and a sense of belonging to the club. We must all give more, otherwise we won’t win. We have to play and win for our fans.”
Inter boss Luciano Spalletti also said the game would play an important part in the Milan clubs’ mentality moving forward — and that a defeat is likely to have a negative impact.
“It is a very important game and there are no circumstances where the derby could be considered just any other match,” Spalletti told Inter TV.
“It gives you a great deal, but takes it away too. We consider ourselves ready for this tie, as it paves the way towards the semifinal and we must give our best both as a team and individually.
“We need everyone to feel fundamental, as there is another game in three days and if we are forced to make changes, we want each player ready to give his all.”
The winners will advance to the semifinals, where Lazio await after edging Fiorentina in the opening quarterfinal on Tuesday.
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