(IN THE PHOTO: Clarence Seedorf at the Milanello sports centre)
MILANELLO – Here’s what the Rossoneri coach had to say in this afternoon’s press conference:
“We’ll be up against a big team tomorrow who have had difficulties with results but not with the way they play. They have a lot of good players and I expect them to be in form. It’s an important game tomorrow to see what point we’re at. We’ll be looking for the win. Benitez is one of footballo’s greats. He’s well prepared and I respect him a lot. They’ll give everything tomorrow. Many clubs would love to have their fans with the energy and spirit that they have. That’s the reasons why these games are so great”.“Kakà is feeling a bit better and we hope he’ll be back as soon as possible. Taarabt is here and availabel for selection. He has a lot of talent and we have to pull that out of him. We hope to see him sooner rather than later. Balotelli with Pazzini? Anything’s possible. Essien is a guarantee with what he can give. He needs time to settle in but Milan, in that sense, has always been a very welcoming family. De Sciglio plays better on the right than the left but that’ll depend on what we need. “I have a lot of players who are not yet at 100% and I’ll wait until after training to make definitive choices. Silvestra and Zapata are back training but the Colombian is not yet match fit. Taarabt has done a good week’s work and so has Essien. Bonera is carrying a slight knock and Silvestre is not yet 100%. Cristante was very unlucky and I’m sorry for him.”“It’s not an exam for us, they’ll come later on. We have to grow physically and mentally and with time we’ll be much better in all areas. The best thing at the moment is the enthusiasm around the team. We have to consolidate all of this as there have been problems and that won’t disappear from one day to the next. I’m curious about the team’s growth. The late win against Cagliari was good for morale but we have to close off games as soon as we can. The mentality has to be to score and to win as soon as we can”.“Balotelli has trained very well and fans all over the country have a lot of respect for him as a player. Tense matches bring out the best in him. I haven’t seen any changes and I don’t expect to. We only spoke and tactics and technique and he’s ready to give his contribution”.“I’ll wait until after training to see how the players are as a player’s condition can change. All the players have to feel involved in the team from here to the end of the season. A sense of belonging is important. Everyone wants to contribute. Enthusiasm is what we work with and that’s encouraging. I’m very happy. The fruits of our efforts will be harvested but I don’t know how much time all of this will take”.“I don’t see three fixed players behind the striker, they’re free to move. The team’s defense depends on how high up the pitch you try and win the ball. Against Cagliari we played lower down the pitch and broke forward with Honda. Big wins come from balance. You need respect for the adversary but the team attacks and defends as a whole”.“For Mourinho, the best match of the last 50 years was his semi-final between Inter and Barcelona while I can understand Galliani when he says it was Milan against Manchester. I won’t say anything. Hernanes simply said he was happy to be at Inter. It’s the journalists who interpret his words in a certain way but I can’t see anything strange in what he said”.