Gennaro Gattuso praised Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Lucas Biglia following AC Milan's 1-0 victory over Inter to progress to the semi-finals of the TIM Cup.
Patrick Cutrone scored the only goal of the game in extra-time to secure progression for Milan, with Gattuso now hopeful that the derby win can be a "morale booster" for their upcoming Serie A fixtures.
"This Milan reminds me of the one in the first part of the 2006/07 season, where we were losing to everyone but then we stood out after the management decided to bring us to Malta," Gattuso told Milan TV.
"I see the boys try to climb a mountain in every moment of the game, but it's still not enough because physically and psychologically we are still not at our peak. We never have to lack grit, desire and sense of belonging.
"For these boys, the derby was as important as breathing. This win doesn't change a lot of things, but it's a morale booster," he added.
"It would have been a pity not to deliver what these players have inside them. We can now work more serene and let's focus on taking home a win in Florence.
"Since I have arrived here, Çalhanoğlu has worked really hard, never skipping a training session.
"But I want to underline Biglia's performance, he showed he's a great player. He was one of the men of the match in my opinion and it's crucial that all our players in the squad are recovering. We must never give up."