Milan vs. Milan: Stankovic believes Inter is betterROME - Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic believes his side is in better position coming into Saturday’s derby than Serie A leaders AC Milan.
Milan has a two-point advantage on Inter and is the nominal host at San Siro, which the two sides share.
AC Milan also won there earlier in the season but Inter has closed a gap that once stood at 13 points in mid-December and has had the better form by far since January.
“Maybe we’re seen as favorites because of recent results, we’ve made a historic comeback and we don’t want to stop there,” said the Serbian captain. “We won’t let up, that’s for sure, but I am a little worried about their professional pride.
“They will want to show they haven’t spent 20 weeks leading Serie A for nothing, to show that they have quality.”
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri previously said Inter has more to lose in this game but it is Inter that is still in the Champions League and also has the Italian Cup to play for.
Milan’s interest in European competition is over for another season and the club’s hierarchy surely would not be satisfied with merely a Cup victory for their year’s efforts, not to mention their economic outlay over the past 12 months.
Inter follows up Saturday’s game with a clash against Schalke 04 in the Champions League on Tuesday but Stankovic doesn’t believe that will be a distraction.
“We’ll give everything against Milan and then we’ll be taken by another emotion,” he said. “We know that the better you do at the beginning the better things happen thereafter.
“The Champions League gives you fuel for the league and vice versa. It’s no coincidence that Milan dropped points against Bari and Palermo after going out of the Champions League.”
Milan looked almost home and dry a couple of weeks ago after Inter had drawn away to lowly Brescia.
AC Milan could have moved seven points ahead of their rivals with a victory but instead drew at home to rock-bottom Bari and then lost away to Palermo the next week.
That has left Milan just two points above its bitter city rivals and also under pressure from Napoli, three points back, and outsiders Udinese, six points behind.
For Inter coach Leonardo it may be a strange feeling as he takes charge of his third derby, but first on the Inter bench.