AC Milan have been unfortunate with injuries but the table does not lie, argues Lippi

The Rossoneri have been forced to make do without key players for large parts of the campaign but the ex-Italy boss still feels that the Bianconeri will make for worthy champions
Marcelo Lippi has acknowledged that AC Milan have been unfortunate with injuries this season but argues that the table does not lie and that Juventus deserve their place at the summit.

The Bianconeri are currently one point clear of the Rossoneri with just two rounds remaining, with Antonio Conte's men set to tackle Cagliari in Trieste on Sunday night while their title rivals are facing Inter in the Derby della Madonnina at San Siro.

Former Juve boss Lippi believes that his old side's surprise Scudetto challenge has been aided by the amount of injury problems Milan have had this season, but he is still of the opinion that the Old Lady are top of the table on merit.

"Injuries have affected Milan, but the ranking is correct," the ex-Italy coach exlained to Tuttosport. "And now Milan will have the unknown quantity that is the derby, while it seems unlikely that Juve will allow victory against Cagliari to get away from them."

Indeed, Lippi feels that the fact that sixth-placed Inter have so much to play for themselves is a huge boost for Juve.

"The beauty of this derby on the penultimate day of the season is that in addition to the importance for city supremacy, it will inevitably influence the table," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"At San Siro both the championship and third place, which brings with it qualification for the Champions League, come into play.

"There will be major players on the field: [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic and [Diego] Milito; the recovered [Wesley] Sneijder and [Antonio] Cassano, the experienced [Javier] Zanetti, [Esteban] Cambiasso, [Gennaro] Gattuso, [Mark] van Bommel, the reliable Julio Cesar and [Christian] Abbiati, the great defensive stalwarts [Alessandro] Nesta, Thiago Silva and [Walter] Samuel.

"As always there will be big and healthy competition and the desire to present their fans with a victory, the effect of which will last until the next derby.

"In short, there are many reasons to consider this one of the most important games of the year, even if the team that enjoys it could be Juventus."

Both the Milan derby and Juve's meeting with Cagliari kick off at 20.45CET.

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