No favourites in derby against Inter, says AC Milan boss Pioli

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(Reuters) – AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli said on Saturday that there were no favourites in Sunday’s derby against Inter Milan, adding that it was a long season and the game would not be decisive in the race for the Scudetto.

Milan are second in the league standings with 31 points from a possible 33 — only behind leaders Napoli on goal difference — while champions Inter are seven points back in third.

“There are no favourites in these games; the table isn’t important. It’s a very important game that is keenly felt, and we want to do well,” said Pioli.

“You prepare for a derby as much tactically as you do emotionally. We’ll have a plan for both phases of the game, but our character could make more of a difference than what we do tactically.”

“Inter won the league last season by some margin, they will probably reach the knockout stages in the Champions League, and they know how to keep winning. They are a solid, compact team with a combination of technical and physical strengths.”

Milan Derby victory ‘fundamental’ for Inter, says Inzaghi

It is “fundamental” for Inter Milan to get a result against Serie A joint leaders AC Milan in Sunday’s Milan Derby, Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi said on Saturday.

Seven points separates the third-placed Italian champions from Milan, who have picked up 31 points from a possible 33 and are only behind table-topping Napoli on goal difference.

Inter head into the game at San Siro in good form, with four wins and a draw in their last five games in all competitions.

But Inzaghi realises the importance of a fixture where defeat would leave them with a mountain to climb in the title race. 

“We are doing great things, the numbers show that. You have to congratulate Napoli and Milan for their progress,” Inzaghi told a news conference.

“Winning tomorrow would increase our conviction, but we will have to all suffer together.”

“We have a big chance tomorrow, We started this run of games (since the October international break) badly with the defeat in Rome against Lazio, then we won (four) and drew one,” he added.

“Those results gave us great conviction, but tomorrow it is fundamental to get a result.”

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