AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso is looking forward to a difficult, yet important, Milan derby this week.
The Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Internazionale will be held on Wednesday evening after being initially postponed last month following the sudden and tragic death of Davide Astori.
With both sides in relatively strong form and battling it out for a place in the top four, Gattuso believes that the Milan derby has finally become significant again after both clubs have slumped down the Serie A table over past few years.
"After years the derby is back to being something significant," said Gattuso in a press conference, as quoted by Football-Italia.
"Inter have changed in recent weeks, they've scored 10 goals and conceded zero. They're in good form and some players have got back to their best. We're also in form, we did well against Juventus and after years the derby is back to being something significant."
Inter have not lost a league game since February and have enjoyed an undefeated run of four games without conceding a goal. The Nerazzurri are fourth in Serie A and eight points ahead of Milan.
AC Milan had not lost a league game in 2018 until their 3-1 defeat to Juventus last weekend. Under Gattuso, the Rossoneri went 13 games without defeat. Despite losing to the league leaders, Gattuso believes that their performance against the Old Lady would be good enough to earn a win on Wednesday.
"I hope we can repeat our performance at Juventus Stadium," he added. "We're experiencing a different atmosphere now, the fans are always proud of us after every game. We need to improve our mentality and desire, fight with a knife between our teeth.
"It's a derby, a clash in which the team lower in the table often wins. Inter have quality, they're in form and they're playing good football. They're back to being the team that played so well three months ago, so we'll need an excellent game on a technical and tactical level."
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Milan have made a late charge for a Champions League place, but have eight points to make up on their local rivals. With only nine league games to go, defeat on Wednesday could put an end to the Champions League bid as the gap would widen to 11 points.
"Is it a cup final? We've been playing a cup final for some time, we know we can't get it wrong because we're chasing. Tomorrow will be a difficult game like all the others."