PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE: “We are ready to battle.”

Mauro Tassotti faced the press on Friday before Juve-Milan.



(IN THE PHOTO: Tassotti takes questions from the press) 

MILANELLO- On Friday afternoon, assistant coach Mauro Tassotti spoke to the press in place of Filippo Inzaghi, who was struggling with the flu. This is what Tassotti had to say ahead of Saturday’s Serie A match away to Juventus:

The opening comments were on Milan’s difficult start to the new year: “Perhaps we under-estimated some of our opposition and we cannot allow ourselves to do that with any side. We’ve also been lacking in confidence. The match against Parma was an important moment and on paper it was an easy match, but for us in that moment it wasn’t easy to collect all 3 points. We were able to win and we now want to build on that and continue playing good football. We played well against Napoli and Roma, but then we lost our way.”

Tassotti continued: “We would always like to play an attacking game but it also depends on our opponents that often force you into playing a different type of game. This Saturday’s match is the hardest match that we could have faced, but this is what the fixture list has thrown up. It’s never been easy in Turin, even for the Milan sides coached by Sacchi and Capello. It’s a tough ground to play at, but we are ready to battle. In football you go through these negative moments, even Juventus experienced them before they got back to being successful. It’s fundamental that this club gets back to competing for the top places. This is what we want.”

A word on Bonaventura and his fitness ahead of the match: “Bonaventura is doing fairly well, and he is available for tomorrow. If he does play I believe it will be in midfield and not in attack. Zaccardo played very well against Parma but we will see tomorrow with Inzaghi what choices to make. As for the new signings, they need time to integrate fully. Tomorrow they are available for selection.”

Tassotti spoke about Saturday’s opponents: “Juve are a side that drop very few points and concedes very few goals. They are capable of changing from one playing system to another easily and Allegri has done well to gradually bring his own ideas into an already settled context. If we are organised and aggressive for 90 minutes we have a chance.”

The Italian coach commented on the difficulties Milan are facing right now in the treatment room: “We have had many injury problems such as Zapata and El Shaarawy. It’s one thing to a lose a player for a few days, it’s another to lose a player for months. We’ve practically never had De Sciglio available. De Sciglio is still a long way from recovering. Last year he had a troubled season. In my opinion he has some difficulties playing on the left because he isn’t a natural left footer. He’s a good person, who has come through our youth sector and we are relying on him a lot. This should have been the season in which we saw the player from his first season, but it hasn’t been like this. Stephan has a serious injury. It’s not easy when you are missing such important players.”

A word on the coach Filippo Inzaghi: “Pippo is very meticulous, he studies our matches and also that of our opponents. He wanted a coach dedicated to set-pieces for example. Managing a group is the hardest aspect. When you have so many choices amongst the squad it’s not easy and it’s the hardest aspect in which to gain experience. When you choose one player over another it’s because you believe he is the best for that match, but it’s not easy for a player that isn’t selected to accept.”

Final comments: “A draw would be a positive result and it would be even more so should it come after a good performance. We have to bring the team through in order to start off at a better pace next year. It was to be expected that Honda would have a few physical problems after coming back from Australia and the Asian Cup, but we believe that he’s now fine. He’s a great professional and it didn’t take long for him to get back into the swing of things.”