Clarence Seedorf believes that AC Milan's 1-0 victory over Inter on Sunday evening has given them a realistic opportunity to play in the Europa League next season.
Nigel de Jong made the difference in the Derby della Madonnina with a second half header as the Rossoneri narrowed the gap between themselves and their city rivals to three points.
And Seedorf was delighted with his side's "emotional" derby win.
"We declared that we want to fight to the end to reach the Europa League, which is tough as there are so many teams involved in the race," the coach said. "We continue to believe and beat an Inter side that battled, but my lads had something more in terms of determination and solidity.
"I am accustomed to criticising myself and have done throughout my career. I consider myself a winner and a winner gives his all. I want to thank the team for their efforts and I was confident over the week, as I could see how concentrated they were in training.
“The way they celebrate together on the field says more than words could. The season isn’t over yet and we have a tough game against Atalanta next week, so we will enjoy the derby win tonight and then begin preparing.
"My first concern was to find solidity. This team has achieved that recently. In this game I wanted to surprise Inter by changing the system, especially as I said the philosophy was more important than the system."
Despite seeing the team improve under his leadership, Seedorf is still unsure if he will be in charge of Milan at the start of next season and was asked about the possibility of taking over Inter.
"It could happen anytime and it would not be a scandal. But today it is an inappropriate question.
“It was an emotional derby, as always, and I was proud to see how the team fought hard and received deserved applause at the end.
"They did very well in defence, as it’s not easy to mark Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio.
"We had a diamond midfield with Balotelli and Kaka helping out in defence and [Adel] Taarabt on Esteban Cambiasso. It was very important to keep an eye on Cambiasso, as he can become very dangerous when Inter have possession and often combines with [Rodrigo] Palacio, so we tried to limit that connection as much as possible.
"The defence is stronger when the whole team works to help out. They understand now how important it is to be aggressive and double up the marking. Nigel De Jong, for example, did brilliantly to be the extra man in defence."