I'm not scared of AC Milan, insists Guarin

The Colombian remains confident despite being wary that the Rossoneri's tails are up following their European exploits, while Mateo Kovacic hopes to introduce himself to the masses
Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin has insisted AC Milan do not scare him ahead of Sunday's Derby della Madonnina.

Massimiliano Allegri's side have recently enjoyed an upturn in form, culminating in their Champions League last-16 victory over Barcelona midweek, while the Nerazzurri's fortunes, in contrast, have seen them slip out of the top three in Serie A.

However, the Colombia international issued a rallying cry, as he told La Gazzetta dello Sport:
"Milan do not scare me. I respect them like every other team.

"I'd sacrifice a lot to beat Milan, but it's not important if me or my strike partners score. I want to help the team and showcase 100 per cent of my talent and physical strength.

"They played great against the best team in the world, but we are Inter.
And it must be remembered that the derby is different from the Champions League.

"Milan have several players that can make a difference, but I only care about the threat posed by a team, not an individual.

"Our first goal is to qualify in the Champions League and I have so much confidence [in what Inter are doing]. We'll make sure [the race for] third place goes down to the wire."

Guarin then reflected on the absence of striker Diego Milito, who will miss the rest of the season after sustaining cruciate ligament damage in the first leg of Inter's Europa League knockout success over Cluj.

"Diego is the reference point to our attack. His very presence brings fear to the opposing defenders, and without him, everything is more difficult. We have to give more," the former Porto man added.

"One of my characteristics is to score and make assists. I want to do even more and I hope to improve. Without Milito, the team needs me. I love playing in the inside right of midfield, but I'll play anywhere."

Meanwhile, Inter new boy Mateo Kovacic revealed he hopes to introduce himself to Serie A audiences during the derby clash with Milan, following his debut assist in the 4-1 defeat to Fiorentina last weekend.

"I was a little disappointed [with my debut], but I do not suffer from vertigo. And above all, if after the 4-1 in Florence we were going 'down down down' [the table], we hope to go back up with the derby," he said.

"I confess that I was pretty sure Barcelona would beat them, but Milan played fantastically well.

"We know that reaching the top three will not be easy, but we are striving towards it, and that includes the derby. Both my team and I will give everything [to the cause].

"I am feeling a little nervous, but once the game starts, [the nerves] begin to disappear. If, like me, you love football, you live for these games.

"You do not think about the intensity, but only how much you want to play."

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder, who arrived from Dinamo Zagreb last month in a reported €15 million deal, added: "Playing in this team is not a burden, it is a joy.

"I am just grateful that Inter signed me, and I cannot think of anything else but to stay here as long as possible and do the best I can.

"I play where the coach tells me to play, but I do not feel like a midfielder. I like playing as a No.10 the most, but in truth I cannot choose.

"It's true that I always try to play a little more elaborately so I can give something extra at the expense of making a mistake."