APPIANO GENTILE – The big day is nearly upon us. With just over 24 hours to go until the first Milan derby of the 2015/16 Serie A season, Roberto Mancini held a press conference at the Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti this afternoon to preview the match.
Asked first about his side’s fitness concerns, Mancini declared: "We’ll evaluate Miranda later today and make a call tomorrow morning. No teams are at 100% yet – everyone needs to give more. If Miranda doesn’t make it then all of the players are ready to step in. I don’t think we’d play with a back three, but you can never rule anything out. Icardi is fine and trained normally yesterday. He’ll be captain tomorrow."
Mancini was keen not to overstate the significance of tomorrow’s match in terms of the league table: "Winning the derby would give us more enthusiasm and would enable us to build on our early season wins. But it wouldn’t change a thing in regard to the table because it’s only our third match of the season. We’re convinced we can have a good season regardless of the result tomorrow."
The Inter boss was then asked for his take on the current AC Milan crop: "I think they’re a great side. Almost all of their players are internationals and they have two dangerous players up front in Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca. They have a number of players who can change the game. Both Inter and Milan are growing again and I think we’ll both return to the top soon. We want to do 100% to make our fans happy."
Asked whether the Nerazzurri’s recent arrivals would be ready to play tomorrow, Mancini replied: "Most of them already know the Italian league, apart from Perisic and Telles. Telles is a young player though and when I signed him from Gremio he’d barely played. I think he’s quite similar to Maxwell. And he has an Italian passport so could be an option for the national side.
"Felipe Melo in pretty good condition physically. I thought he would be less fit because he’s only played one match and didn’t have a full pre-season with Galatasaray. He’s been working hard for ten days now so we’ll see whether he’s involved from the start or not," continued Mancini.
The Nerazzurri coach also spoke at length about Ivan Perisic: "We believe he can be a fantastic player for this football club. He began the season in mid-August and is fit. He has put in some quality performances over the last year. In terms of his position, he’s comfortable in most attacking roles: striker, winger, inside forward.
"Medel is a complete player. He has great character and bags of quality – he knows how to play the game. Jovetic only got back from international duty yesterday and had a light training session. We’ll make a decision tomorrow morning," declared Mancini.
Mancini believes that the result is the only thing that matters tomorrow: "If I were an Inter fan I would only be worried about winning tomorrow. That’s what counts right now. The football and everything else will come as we keep picking up results. I think all Nerazzurri fans know that."
Lastly, Mancini was asked how the Milan derby ranks in the derbies he’s been involved in: "It’s number one. It’s always been a derby featuring the best players around and it often helped decide who’d be winning silverware. Our hope is to take Inter back to those heights."