Ibrahimović: “They locked the wrong animal at home – I was so hungry and I proved it with these two goals, I feel more complete, Leão is a great talent”

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Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrating at the end of Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

Zlatan Ibrahimović has stated ‘the team is growing a lot, the mentality is different and the young players take on more responsibility’ after scoring twice in the Derby della Madonnina.

Zlatan missed four games for Milan as he was positive for the Coronavirus. But he returned just in time for the Diavolo’s match against Inter at Stadio San Siro.

Ibra led Milan to victory in the first Derby della Madonnina of the season with two goals. In the 12′ minute he scored from the rebound after seeing his penalty getting saved by Samir Handanović while 3 minutes later he found the net again thanks to a Rafael Leão assist.

Romelu Lukaku scored in the 29′ minute and nearly equalized a few times later in the game but the Rossoneri held out well and managed to grab the three beautiful points and remain top of the table.

“What was in my derby this evening? There was a lot, it was an important match against Inter,” Ibrahimović told Sky Italia. “Milan hadn’t won the Derby for 4 years. I was locked away at home for two weeks. I was so hungry and today I proved it with these two goals. I’m disappointed with the missed penalty but the important thing is to have won. This adventure continues.

The Milan squad celebrating at the end of Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Daniele Buffa)

“The Scudetto? We are at the beginning. Since I arrived the team has been doing great things, especially after the lockdown. The team is growing a lot, the mentality is different and the young players take on more responsibility. Everyone is training great.

“If I feel responsibility? I feel a lot of responsibility, I’m the oldest on the team. It’s a situation that I like a lot, everyone follows me and everyone is hungry to win. If I’m amazed by myself? No… I know what my level is. After the knee injury I went to America to feel alive. At Manchester I told Mourinho that I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I went to America. Then Raiola to me to go back to Europe and they told me that Milan needed me the most and I came back.

“The COVID-19 quarantine? I only lost a bit of taste, I was taking swabs every three days. I would have played the Derby regardless, no one would have stopped me! The lion I posted on Instagram after the match? I’m like this lion, I wanted to put it up already in the last derby… I kept it aside [laughs].

Zlatan Ibrahimović during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

“If I think I’ve done better in my 30s years than before? I feel more complete, I have more experience. When you are young you are still growing. Now I feel complete, if I had the physical condition of 10 years ago nobody would stop me, but even now they don’t stop me… My celebration after the second goal? There was one guy shouting from the audience, this celebration is only for him.

“My merits? In my opinion there’s a bit of everything. Physically I’m fine, I train a lot. I’m playing with great experience and I play with teammates who are willing to do many things. They are doing well, they listen, I put intensity on everyone – I don’t accept that they relax, not in training and not in the match. You have to train at 200%.

Davide Calabria, Franck Kessié, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

“Leão? He is very strong, he has an almost better body than mine. He has speed and technique. He just has to focus on football like he’s doing. He plays for Milan, there is not much patience here.

“Running for the title? We are thinking one game at a time, every game is like a final. When I arrived the objective was Europa and we got there. The objective for the club is to get to Europe again, my personal objectives are different but I keep them to myself [laughs]. Scudetto…? In my opinion there is a sure possibility, someone who believes can do everything. We believe in it, then in the end we’ll see how it goes. The road is still long.

“If I was targeting a particular defender? Yes, but I can’t tell you [laughs]. The coach prepared the game very well, he decided how we should attack. We did great things, we risked a bit but this is the Derby.”

Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Jonathan Moscrop Sportimage)

Speaking to MilanTV, the 39-year-old Zlatan said: “The return from quarantine? I’m very hungry because they locked the wrong animal at home. Two weeks stuck at home, it’s not easy. Mentally it’s harder to be stuck indoors especially with the high tempo we’d had beforehand. Being stuck at home for two weeks, the tempo drops off completely and the body starts to tremble because it wants to work and to play, but because of COVID I was at home and all I could so was wait for it to pass so I could get back to the team to help them.

“The team? It is growing a lot, we play as a team a lot, and make a lot of sacrifices, one for all and all for one. We are doing well but the team must understand and knows that we haven’t finished anything yet, we have to push on now that they’ve had the feeling of winning matches. The mentality is the right one, to win you need to make these sacrifices and work hard. As I’ve said before my philosophy is, you’ll play the way you’ve trained. If you don’t give 200% in training, you won’t play at 200%. That’s why you have to do something every day.

“Leão? He is a great talent, he has a very bright future ahead of him if he makes the right decisions, it’s in his hands. We are here to help him, but he has to decide what he wants. He’s doing great things at the moment, he’s especially doing great things on the field, he’s open to improving and making sacrifices and today he played very well. In a match, there are moments when you struggle a bit, it’s that way for everyone, the important thing is to not let it get too much and to recover as soon as possible. But he is doing great things.

Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

“Winning the derby away for the first time in 10 years? Now we don’t have to wait another 10 years… we were doing great, then I scored two goals. I’m a bit disappointed about the penalty, I shouldn’t miss. But I scored immediately after the penalty. So, three points today and we move on, I’m sorry for the fans – we have great support and we saw it before the match when they accompanied us to the stadium. It’s a great shame the fans couldn’t be in the stadium to celebrate with us. However, after the game, we celebrated where they would normally be.

“The performance in attack? [Laughs] We’re highly-focused in front of goal, when I arrived I said we had to kill it every time we were in front of goal, today we could have scored more but we won and we are more effective in front of goal, you can’t win if you don’t score, but we’re scoring for the moment.”

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Agustinar
Agustinar
9 days ago

Ibra should stay another year. Leao is full of trick. He should play alongside Ibra in 2 striker upfront, back to back with Rebic. Let’s try 4312. It can also accommodate Tonali in the middle as regista. Bennacer play as RCM.

rruudboy
rruudboy
9 days ago
Reply to  Agustinar

things are working so well now and why change the formation? this is a reality not a play station

Ruskin
9 days ago
Reply to  rruudboy

Pls tell Augustinar ,y change a formation that is working right now and Napoli have also copied thesame formation and they won again Atalanta

Agustinar
Agustinar
9 days ago
Reply to  rruudboy

I don’t play playstation

Milano
Milano
8 days ago
Reply to  rruudboy

Hahahaha good reply

ZahidHossain
ZahidHossain
9 days ago
Reply to  Agustinar

4231 is perfect for us…. 2 pivot is working good for us…. In 4312 formation our fullbacks will fall into extreme pressure n we will not able to make quick counter attack…. More important thing is our team is building on 4231 philosophy…

Agustinar
Agustinar
9 days ago
Reply to  ZahidHossain

I agree that 4312 will make the fullbacks in big pressure. I mean the 4312 is for attacking formation. We shouldn’t stick on 1 formation. This is a phillosophy of football like Allegri and Mou does. A team should get used to more than 1 formation

Ted
Ted
9 days ago
Reply to  Agustinar

I don’t agree with your statement, their upturn in form started when he deployed 442 so they do have alternatives they probably test in trainings. They even used 4321 last season when Ibra was injured and it was Rebić who took over and exploded

Last edited 9 days ago by Ted
Agustinar
Agustinar
9 days ago
Reply to  Ted

2 formation or flexible formation means that those formation are both effective. It depends on who the opponent is. When facing strong opponent, we should use 4231. When facing weaker opponents that usually play defensively, we should try 4312 that mostly accomodate our strong players in their best position. We can not use 442 now because we don’t have left midfielder.

Osayande Ekhator
Osayande Ekhator
9 days ago
Reply to  Agustinar

Please you can use ur formation on ur ps 4

Agustinar
Agustinar
9 days ago

I don’t play P4

Milan10
Milan10
9 days ago

Last season ibra said milan would’ve competed for scudetto had he played from the start and now here he is, proving every word he said was true. Capolista with 4 straight wins, top scorer, winning first derby since 2018 and first serie a derby since 2016, after he just recovered from covid. How awesome can u be?
All hail the lion king

Muratx
Muratx
9 days ago
Reply to  Milan10

I was against singing him and I was wrong.

Agustinar
Agustinar
9 days ago
Reply to  Muratx

I never doubt Ibra’s effect would have to the team

Milan10
Milan10
7 days ago
Reply to  Muratx

well at least u admit that u’ve made mistake, thats rare feat. good for u mate

ZahidHossain
ZahidHossain
9 days ago

25 win for CL spot: 4 done n 21 more to go
So Happy for the derby win after 4 yrs

Maxwell
Maxwell
9 days ago

Am so happy for this great win…..foza Milan. my weekend is going on very well…. Can’t wait to see the Milan jersey playing champions league next season.

A.R.
A.R.
9 days ago

Zlatan is a living legend. One of the greatest that ever played the game.
The king of the jungle never abdicates! Forza Milan!