Christian Abbiati and Philippe Mexes are expected to feature in tomorrow’s Coppa Italia tie and the veteran goalkeeper underlines it’s important to not underestimate Crotone.
Coming off a strong 4-1 win over Sampdoria this Saturday, the Rossoneri play Crotone in the 4th round of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night (21:00 CET kickoff) and the bench players will have their shot at impressing coach Mihajlovic.
Abbiati has yet to feature this season in official matches as 16-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma is given the opportunities to shine while Diego Lopez deals with his injury, while Mexes has never seemed to truly convince Mihajlovic, who plays Alex alongside Alessio Romagnoli.
Regardless of their (different) current situation, the Italian and Frenchman will give their all to beat Crotone at San Siro.
“It’s important to not underestimate the opponent and give continuity to our results and get into the match in the right spirit,” Abbiati said in today’s pre-match presser. “The Coppa Italia would be nice to win, like every trophy. We have to attach the right importance to it, even more so since we’re only competing in two competitions.
“Donnarumma? You’ve seen the qualities he has. He’s got huge margin to improve, he’s a lad with his head on his shoulders and he’s exceptional. He just thinks about his work and doing it in the best way he can. Few people have this kind of quality at 16. The Lord looked down on him and said ‘you need to be a goalkeeper’. My future? I’m fine, I haven’t missed a training session. We’ll see at the end of the season.
“The coach? He has upped the pace of the workouts, and does not look at the names who deserves to play. If Abbiati or Donnarumma plays it doesn’t matter, whoever plays deserves it. That’s an important thing. On Saturday I liked the spirit in which Niang and Luiz Adriano celebrated the goal with the bench and it’s a sign that we have a great group (Niang celebrating with Mexes can be seen in the pic above).”
Mexes, who is likely to partner Cristian Zapata in the heart of the defense, added: “We need to give continuity to our results. Niang? He is very skillful and he’s young. He must play for the team. I am pleased with the way he is playing but he needs to keep going on like that. With time he will become more of a professional and it’s important for him to understand that he can become fundamental to our team.”
Mihajlovic? We are coming off two complicated seasons and it is not easy to find consistency but we are working in a relaxed manner because we feel we are on the right track. He has brought serenity.”