CHRISTIAN ABBIATI calls the fans to show up tomorrow at San Siro and says Milan are better than PSG.
Milan are taking on Inter tomorrow at Stadio San Siro and while captain Massimo Ambrosini argues the derby has come in the perfect timing for Milan, the Rossoneri are not quite playing to their full potential yet.
Milan went through massive changes in the summer and have been struggling for results. The game against Inter could be the turning point of the season, and Abbiati believes Milan are at the half-way point.
“My arms still hurt from Hulk’s free kick. It’s primarily my left arm that hurts, but I’ll be ready for the derby,” Abbiati, 35-years-old, told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It was awful to see all the senators leave at once, but it was almost time for all of them. The majority of them, like Nesta and Seedorf, made lifestyle choice.
“I was really hurt by Gattuso leaving. I would never have expected it. When he told me about his plans I fell backwards. He had never given any sign of that he was going to leave. The departure of the senators was definitely more hurtful than Ibra and Thiago leaving, because there were more of them and they had a bigger impact on the team.” Zlatan Ibrahimovic and T. Silva were sold this summer to Paris Saint-Germain.
“If PSG are stronger than Milan? Absolutely not. We’re stronger and I’m not saying this out of spite. If we were to meet PSG in the Champions League then I don’t think that they would be the favorites,” the keeper added. “Losing Nesta and Thiago Silva at once? It was a big blow, also because they were amazing persons. Nesta is a monument and Thiago is the best defender in the world. There’s no need to say more.
“But it’s not like we were left with an abysmal defence. Bonera is a great champion. He’s a bit underrated because he doesn’t sell himself that well to the media. Mexes has completely recovered and Zapata is a great signing. Acerbi is young but he has done well, and Yepes has an enormous amount of experience.
“We’re all settled in defense. What I think about the 3-man defence? I have good memories about the 3-man defence because I won a Scudetto with Zaccheroni by playing with a 3-man defence. But I honestly don’t have any formation preferences. If we up until now haven’t been impeccable in the defence, then it’s because the entire team hasn’t been working well. You can’t just blame one department. That’s too easy.
“The biggest difficulty that we have to face now? It’s that we have to get all the newly-arrived players settled into the winning mentality of the club as soon as possible. At Milan you must only win, and if someone isn’t fully focused on the objective then he will lose in the end. How it’s going for Milan on a scale of 1-10? After our recent performances, I would say 6. We’re at the half-way point. We will be back. You will see it.
“We must absolutely finish in one of the top spots. In the Champions League we will take it one step at a time. The first objective is to qualify for the knockout stage. If I’m a silent leader? My teammates know that I’m there, even though I’m not the most outgoing person. I really hope that it’s a silence that they can feel.
“I have never had any problems with Allegri, but I can assure that ever since he arrived at the club, then the players have always been with him. Being Milan’s coach isn’t easy, but Allegri is handling the squad well. And his age allows him to have a great connection with the players. I would say that his relation with us is very similar to the relation that we had with Ancelotti: during the matches then he’s the one who’s in charge, but off the pitch he talks and makes jokes. I’m sorry that Allegri has been criticized so much lately.
“But I can assure you that there haven’t been any repercussions on the squad because we have always been on his side. Or rather, in the difficult moments we have been even closer to him. Allegri’s future at Milan? In my opinion, he could have a medium-long spell at Milan, just like Ancelotti. A great club needs to plan and have a project, so you can’t change your coach often. Allegri knows the Milan environment well and he has demonstrated that he fits in well,” he added.
“It was right that we needed time, but now this time has passed. We need to start winning. In Saint Petersburg we were a bit lucky with the goals that we scored, but you get lucky when you have the right attitude and when you seek it. I don’t believe in bad luck. If the match in Russia was the turning point? The turning point was 3 matches ago, vs Cagliari.” Abbiati won UEFA.com’s MOTM award for the Zenit game.
“I hope that he will stay at least until his contract expires in 2014, and I hope to be here as long as well. My contract with Milan expires next summer, but I hope to continue at Milan; first as a player and then as a goalkeeping coach for the youth sector,” continued Abbiati who joined Milan in 1998 from A.C. Monza Brianza 1912. “If the club is demobilizing? If that was really the case, then Berlusconi wouldn’t have let his daughter Barbara become a part of the board. It’s a very important sign. I don’t think that Berlusconi is a powerless president. Honestly, I really can’t imagine a Milan without Berlusconi, Galliani and Braida.
“There are problems with the pitch at San Siro. The ball bounces in an irregular way, and then there’s sand on the pitch, so every time I throw myself on the ground it stings. But San Siro is a great stadium that’s capable of lifting you or bringing you down. I want to see the stadium full of passionate people when we face Inter tomorrow,” concluded the goalkeeper who has four Azzurri appearances in his career record.
Abbiati will obviously start tomorrow against Inter and hopefully he’s left arm won’t bother him at all. If Christian will be able to pull a performance like the one against Zenit, Allegri can be a bit more relaxed.