MILANELLO – Here’s what the Milan coach had to say ahead of the last match of the first half of the season:"We have to have a good second half of the season to get back up the league. It’s disappointing for a city like Milan which deserves to have two teams in Europe and in the TIM cup and we have to defend the city’s good name. It’s a very important game for us tomorrow as we have yet to win two games in a row in the league. Sassuolo play good football and they maybe didn’t deserve to lose against Fiorentina. I’m going to Sassuolo as an ex-coach and I had a very good year with them. I’ve remained very tied to the club. It’s very pleasing to play against them tomorrow. We have to go into the game the right way otherwise we risk running into difficulties. The Italian Cup can and must be a way for us to get into the Europa League. This year we’re facing Spezia and we’ll have to go into that game in the best way we can. When we win the teams gets confidence and belief. Starting the year with a win and a clean sheet was very important. Now we have to start keeping clean sheets away from home. I think Sassuolo have every chance of staying in Serie A.”
“Honda is a good signing for the club. He has to get used to Italian football but he seems to be a quick learner. He’s done two or three training sessions with the team and I think he’s fitting in well."
“Montolivo is back training and he’s available for selection. Nocerino is back playing at the level he need to play at and that’s very important for the squad. Zapata will play tomorrow but I have to decide if he’ll play with Mexes or Bonera. Robinho is getting back in shape both mentally and physically. He’s world class player and has technique that’s hard to find. Pazzini is improving both mentally and physically. We have the cup match on Wendesday and he’ll find space there. I think we have a lot of good forwards. Matri did everything but score in the first half of the season. He’s been very useful for us. He worked for the team on Monday and made his team mates play well. He worked well as a centre forward. Balotelli is a player with a lot of variety in his play. He can play as a central striker or in another position in the forward line. Abate is back running and he’s not feeling pain. I hope he’ll be back training for next week but ti’s too soon to say of he’ll be avable for Verona. Rami will be very useful for this team. He’s player of European level and tomorrow I have to decide if he’ll start the match or start on the bench.”
“Our goalkeeper is Abbiati. When he had some small injury problems, I chose Gabriel who’s a young player and needs to grow. After the first match against Udinese when he did well, people were saying he could be Milan’s keeper for the next ten years and you need balance when making statements like that. If Amelia leaves then Gabriel will stay as you can’t just have two keepers.”
“Montolivo did well last year playing in front of the defense and also out wide but that was a  different situation. He may return to playing in front of the defense in the future. He has the characteristics to play anywhere in the middle of the field and I think his future will be playing in front of the defense. If a young player is good enough, he’ll play. After that it’s up to how good he is and how lucky the coach is in putting him on the pitch at the right moment. Cristante is a player that I believe has a future but he has to be let grow in peace as he’s not even 19 years old yet. Honda has amazed me in a positive sense as he’s settling in well and he’s shown himself to be a very intelligent player. If the chance arises, I’ll let him play based on what the team needs. If not, he’ll get another chance on Wednesday in the cup.”