Marco Giampaolo has today given his pre-derby press conference, saying he doesn’t care about being the underdog.
Giampaolo’s record in derbies at Samp was 4 wins and 2 draws and he will hope to get a victory on his first Derby della Madonnina, which kicks off tomorrow at 20:45 CEST at Stadio San Siro.
It’s the first big match of the Rossoneri this season, as so far they’ve played – and struggled – against Udinese (1-0 defeat), Brescia (1-0 win) and Hellas Verona (1-0 win). Inter, on the other hand, are coming off three Serie A wins and a draw in the Champions League against Slavia Prague on Tuesday.
“What atmosphere do I expect tomorrow against Inter? It’s a sensation that I will have tomorrow night,” Giampaolo told reporters at Milanello on Friday. “One of my assistants was at the derby last year because we were facing one of the two teams, and he told me about the atmosphere and passion that lights up this fixture. It’s a sensation I’ll tell you about after the game.
“How important is winning tomorrow? Our ambition is to play well and win. It has always been my ambition. Wins help you move forward, you have to win games and convince. We are working for this. If this is the most important game of my career, which has seen ups and downs? The job of the coach is made up of ups and downs. This is a very important game. I’ve experienced several derbies in Genoa and I know what it means for the fans. It’s an important game and I want to play a lot of them.
“If I prefer players who are nervous or more serene and tranquil? I prefer concentrated and eager players. I’m not interested in nervousness, also not in this type of game… there’s a waste of psycho-physical energy and you don’t need to add to it. If you want to play well then you have to be serene and you have to know how to enjoy the game with responsibility.
“How important will Brozović’s position for Inter will be? Inter are a clear and defined team, they do things repetitively. The problem is not the individuals, but making a performance of tactical maturity. The players will have to perform at the highest level. We will need to do great collective work. It’s the most difficult match from the point of view of the opposition.
“If Inter are favorites? In every game you have something to win or lose regardless of your opponents. It’s an important challenge. I don’t know if Inter arrive better or worse, it’s a game that defies all predictions. If I watched Inter in the Champions League and if this can be the match that can bring out the work done at Milanello? I watched Inter’s Champions match, but it was a different match from the ones the Nerazzurri are used it, they found a team that gave them more trouble. Sooner or later, there will come a key game that makes you play, the one in which you think less and you play with instinct. Every game is good for the team to express itself in accordance to the things we do in training.
“If it’s an advantage or a disadvantage that Milan are underdogs? The derby is there to be won or lost. I don’t care about being the underdog, I want the team to play the right game. You have to pay attention to the details, I don’t take any advantage from the media’s point of view.
“If playing well is a question of tactics or attitude? It can be both. There are so many aspects, we work to optimize everything. It never depends on just one thing. It also depends on the attitude with which we take the field. What’s the difference between playing Inter with Icardi and with Lukaku? Nothing changes, they have similar characteristics.
“If Milan can play like Slavia Prague did against Inter? We work to do better than Slavia. A lot of the time you can defend by keeping possession of the ball. You don’t need to park the bus in order to defend. Our ambition is to do many things well and then we have to work on it. Ideally, I don’t like a team that defends low and plays long balls without wanting to win back the ball. We need to improve on these aspects.
“I’ve never faced Conte in an official game? I don’t think so… Conte has gone on a big journey. I’ve followed him from the start, I know how he’s evolved. Today at Inter, they play the football from the first version of Conte. I’ve never faced him but I know where he’s coming from, I know what his ideas about football are.
“If this is the most difficult game for tactical or emotional reasons? I often think that the work you do and the things you focus on can pay off with turning points in key matches. Sooner or later, you reach a point where you know who you are, you have self-confidence and things become instinctive when you can put what you work on in training into place and every match is a good opportunity for that to happen.
“In the first summer friendlies we expressed a game that was close to our idea, in the league we’ve been less successful. At the time, I was saying that we smelled the right scent. Then, there’s the game where you find your self-confidence. This game will be difficult from a tactical point of view. We’ll have to be good on certain details, we worked a lot during the week.
“When will we see the Milan we saw in Cardiff against Manchester United? If the team managed to express a certain type of football in the summer then I think they can repeat it. Six guys have been able to express this style of football and I think more will be able to in the future. Integrating new players has slowed this work down a bit, the players came from the African Cup and from European competitions late, and we started with a lot of Primavera players. But I’m convinced that we can have a clear and recognizable identity by working together.
“If the team has the serenity to face this match as a joy? I’ve seen a serene team, without nervousness. The games must be played with joy, but always in a responsible manner. As children we used to enjoy ourselves when we passed the ball, running after others is suffering. That’s the spirit, football is good if you have fun and get self-confidence. In Verona the team was not decisive in the last few meters, these are difficulties that you encounter during the road.
“How did I experience this week? I’ve worked a lot, but I always do. I have faced this week with serenity, as I always do. How much does the derby weight? It weights a lot but it doesn’t represent the crossroads of the season, we on the fourth Matchday. The many legends of will be at San Siro? I hope they can watch a good game…
“What I expect from Inter? Inter are playing in a defined way and they always try to play their game, I don’t expect any tactical surprises. Once in Italy everyone played with a 4-4-2, today you’re all over the place, there are spaces where there weren’t before. It’s clear that every game is different from the other because there is always a different opponent in front of you. The idea of what to do remains, for Inter, for Milan and for the others.
“If I tried a three-man defense? Conte, how are you [laughs]…? I’ll know after today’s training. Regrets over not buying Sensi? There’s no regret, I love the players that I coach and I don’t care about players of other teams. I’m not responsible for the mercato.
“Where are we at with the new signings? I was waiting for that question [smiles]… for me there’s only one Milan, there’s no Tizio or Caio… I train 23 players with whom I’m happy. For me there is only Milan, which is above all the interests of the individuals.
“The ‘confrontation’ with Paquetá? There was no ‘confrontation’, it was only a face-to-face chat. You journalists like to exaggerate, because there is the derby, but I assure you that it was not anything sensational. It was a passing comment, nothing major.
“How is Conti doing and if I thought of playing Borini in place of Calabria? Tomorrow Conti will play, it’s an opportunity for him, an important one. He is a guy who’s been training well and he’s always attentive. He’s grown and matured compared to a few months ago. He knows he has to improve in the defensive phase and he’s been very open to working on new things and he’s improved in different ways. Tomorrow he can demonstrate how he is. He has nothing to prove. He isn’t going to war, he’s going to play a football game.
“If tomorrow can be Biglia’s game? He’s an experienced player who knows how to play games. Tomorrow we have to play 11 and 14 will be on the bench. When I said what I said after the Verona game, it was to say that he’s an experienced player. If Rebić can play from the first minute? He’s willing, he’s a guy who came with enthusiasm. He practically trained with us this week, but he has the right enthusiasm.
“Boban crowned Donnarumma as the dressing room leader? There are many locker room men, the younger players who have just arrived must understand this environment, and the others already know it and they are all leaders. Gigio is one of them.
“If Milan are ready to give a win in the derby to the fans? We must never forget that what we do, we do for the fans. The supporters are football’s greatest asset, absolutely. I know what it’s like to give a joy like winning a derby, I’ve experienced it in the past, even if it lasts for an hour. I can’t enjoy the wins for long, but it is a part of my character. I know what the derby represents for the fans.”