NIGEL DE JONG and Andrea Petagna spoke about their past encounters with Seedorf and both want the Coppa Italia.
After 4-3-1-2, 4-3-3 and 4-3-2-1, Milan are now using the 4-2-3-1 system with 4 attacking players and De Jong & Riccardo Montolivo holding the middle of the pitch. Clarence Seedorf made his coaching debut with this formation last night.
Seedorf won 1-0 against Hellas Verona, becoming the first coach to win on his debut at home with this result since Fabio Capello. De Jong, who has been one of the best players this season for Milan, says the Diavolo are playing differently now.
“Seedorf was always my idol and seeing that photo that Ajax sent to the club really made me think. Certain people in life come back,” Nigel De Jong said. “We’re playing a more attacking system now and that’s clear. It’s a different approach. In the changing rooms, the coach told us, ‘The first game is over and we got the points. Now let’s focus on the next games.’
“He wanted all the staff in there with us. He said there’s long way yet to go and we have to focus on the next games. At the moment, the Coppa Italia is the best way to get back into Europe next season and we have to do it. We’re very focused.”
“Of course the compliments are pleasing but they’re for all the squad,” Andrea Petagna, who came on for Robinho in the 78′ minute, said after the game ended. “It was important to win on Sunday and now we can focus on the cup game on Wednesday (vs. Udinese). We’re on the back of some less than positive results but we played a very good first half even if we didn’t score. We got one in the 2nd half though. It’s good for me to feel the confidence of the coach and my teammates.
“We have to stay on the road that we’re on. The new coach is here, he’s ‘the professor’ and a champion. We have to follow him to do well. I remember when I watched him when I was a ball boy and now he’s my coach, incredible stuff. The cup is important to get into Europe next season (Milan are 7 pts off 5th place). We’ll be playing at home and we have to do well.
“I hope I can stay here as long as possible, it’s the team I followed as a child and I’m happy to be here.” Petagna recently returned from a loan at Sampdoria; he arrived after Ale Matri was loaned out to Fiorentina where he already scored twice.