Coppa derby 'like a World Cup final' for AC Milan - Gennaro Gattuso
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."
Former Milan coach Fabio Capello said that the current crop of Rossoneri are unrecognisable from the one he coached to four Serie A titles in the early 90s, but added that they must keep the faith in Gattuso.
"[Milan] seem still to be looking for an identity," Capello told Sky Sport Italia. "The ownership has changed after many years of Berlusconi, when you knew everything about them. It's a bit traumatic. They are lacking the Milan spirit. "It's a difficult moment and the club need to support Rino [Gattuso]. This not the Milan they knew in China."
Capello also believes Milan's new captain Leonardo Bonucci has lost his way since joining the Rossoneri. "He's the best defender in Italy and possibly in the world with the ball at his feet, but when he has to defend, he has huge problems," Capello said. "He doesn't know how to defend."
The winners will advance to the semifinals, where Lazio await after edging Fiorentina in the opening quarterfinal on Tuesday.
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