(IN THE PHOTO: Jeremy Menez gets away from his marker)
MILAN- This is what was said by the players and the coaching staff after Milan’s 2-2 draw on Saturday evening against Sampdoria at the Marassi stadium:
STEPHAN EL SHAARAWY "It was a wonderful goal and important. It had been missing for a long time and it helps me stay calmer. I’m happy for the goal, but I would have preferred a victory. It was a balanced match, let’s take home this point and move forwards. The tears were an outburst. Many things went through my head. It was instinctive. I wasn’t worried. I always tried to train and to help the side with my performances. I dedicate the goal to my family, in a stadium which is very dear to me. The performance of the team was fairly positive. We knew Sampdoria are a tough side, but let’s take away the positives and let’s prepare for the derby. Conte? His words pleased me and are encouraging. I hope he calls me up. The goal at the end of the first half unsettled us. However, we did well to get back into the game. We did some good things, let’s keep a hold of those things. We tried to win right until the end, even in 10 men. Towards the end, I was a bit tired, but we gave it our all. Sampdoria are a strong side this year, but perhaps we could have deserved a bit more. A goal is not enough, especially if you draw. We must look forward. I have to stay on this path and think about the Italian national side if it happens, or the derby. I hope I can repay the faith of the coach in 2 weeks’ time. He’s always very close to me."
ADIL RAMI"It was a hard match, we knew that, they’ve never lost here at the Marassi stadium this season. We had a good game, we come away with a point, but we did well. Mexes is a big friend of mine, I appreciate his character: even if he doesn’t play, he always has respect for the team and works hard in training. He made sure he was ready, he was the best at the back and it was hard for him as he hadn’t played in a while. Okaka is big and strong, I like him as a forward, he did well as did Sampdoria. Stephan scored a magnificent goal, but he also did well in defence, well done to him and to everyone. We worked a lot after Palermo and we did well."
PHILIPPE MEXES"Hats off to my team-mates. I thank the coach and Adil, and all of my team-mates. I played again after a long time out. We’re a united group, it happens to everyone that they play or don’t play. The main thing is to make sure you’re ready. This is our job. We can only work and then there are chances to take advantage of. We want to win. If we win one or two matches, we can get back to the top. We just need to be aware of our qualities. We’ve all been united, although it’s clear that when things are like this it’s all that easier. Playing today with Rami helped me a lot. Adil is a great player and he’s having a very good season. We don’t look for excuses. If we do our best, the referee won’t matter. We’re waiting for the derby eagerly."
COACH FILIPPO INZAGHI (PRESS CONFERENCE)"I’m proud of these players. We would have deserved a win, but Sampdoria are a great side. To see Sampdoria and their players celebrate at the end of the match like that means that they took note of our strength. Bonera was the best player on the pitch in my opinion. We will miss him a lot in the derby. He had a great match as did Michael Essien. Honda had the flu for 2 days, he was a bit tired and I decided to bring on a striker changing to a 4-4-2. It’s a shame he’s not been well recently and he was perhaps affected slightly physically. El Shaarawy? When a player asks to train on the day of a light-session, it means he has the right spirit. I hope he continues like this, he had a big desire to score again and I am happy for him. It was a balanced match today, we were unlucky in certain moments. We were a team again today after the Palermo match."