Allegri expects tough Milan derby

The 45-year-old coach paid tribute to Inter ahead of their clash on Sunday night, and urged the Rossoneri to approach the fixture with respect
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was swift to acknowledge the strengths of local rivals Inter ahead of their derby at San Siro on Sunday.

The rejuvenated Rossoneri enter the fixture as slight favourites following their lauded 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, but Allegri insisted all that would count was the upcoming 90 minutes to be played on the pitch.

"Inter have a great squad that will cover any absences they might have," the Italian noted to assembled reporters. "We have to realise that we’ll be up against a team that, until a few weeks ago, had a 13-point lead on us in the league.

"Credit for Wednesday's match goes to the players but tomorrow is a different match, both for the league and for the city. Inter put a lot of points on the table at the start of the season and they deserve respect.

"It'll be tough, but the derby is a standalone game and we have to get a positive result tomorrow."

Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and M'Baye Niang are anticipated to lead the line for Milan as they have in recent Serie A matches, and it is an attacking trident that had president Silvio Berlusconi oozing praise regarding his club's youth prospects.

"Up front, we have three players who have only a combined 60 years between them," the former Italy prime minister beamed.

"I hope that Balotelli can remain the measured and educated man that he is. On the pitch, during matches and in training, he’s a perfect professional. We’re proud to have these three players up front.

"Alongside them, we have a product of our youth system, [Mattia] De Sciglio. In the summer, we wanted to build a new team of young talents, and were happy to do so as a young team is one that can grow with certain advantages."