Franco Baresi has claimed that Inter will begin Saturday’s derby as the favourites to win, while he also spoke about the development of Malick Thiaw.
Tonight is the Gentleman Fair Play Award, and Baresi was handed the ‘Gentleman Platinum’ for his services to Italian football. As part of the event he spoke to Sky about a number of topics, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
He was first of all asked if the derby comes a bit too early in the season, given that both sides have only played three games and – while they have each won all three – they are still finding their feat.
“Perhaps, but it must be accepted. The derby is very popular, the two teams are doing well. Inter have always made us suffer so we know the difficulties we could encounter, but we too are fine and have confidence. We all know that the derby is unpredictable.”
This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote that Thiaw has become the ‘symbolic operation’ for RedBird Capital’s Milan and the philosophy that they want to embrace, which you can read about here, and Baresi spoke on the German.
“I think he has already shown that he can play for Milan. He has physicality, personality and I’m sure he will be calm and do his part as he has already demonstrated last year and at the beginning of this year. He is a fixed point, important, young and he has this great mentality. He has this strong personality that helps him.”
It was certainly a busy summer for Milan as they said goodbye to key figures like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paolo Maldini, Ricky Massara and Sandro Tonali, but made 10 signings to boost the depth available to Stefano Pioli.
“Milan have changed, new players have arrived and we all know that it is not easy to fit into our football. But we started well and we have confidence,” Baresi continued.
“We know that Inter are on the other side and are the favourites, but we want to become one. The team has shown that it plays good football and we want to continue to do this.”
Baresi was also asked about whether Juventus, Inter and Napoli have something more than Milan and if they should be considered favourites for the title ahead of the Rossoneri.
“Inter started strong and have full points like us. We know that they have a very important squad that has always created problems for us.
“Then of course there are also Napoli and Juventus, it will be a good fight. I hope that Milan manages to be competitive all the way, then it’s clear that there are many factors that can happen in a season.”
Finally, the former Milan captain was asked about two other centre-backs in Fikayo Tomori – who is suspended for the derby – and Pierre Kalulu who is injured.
“Milan plays very proactive and attacking football, so the defenders must have important qualities. Our defenders have them.
“Many times we play very high up and man-to-man, so I believe that Tomori, Kalulu and Thiaw are central defenders who can play this football. You can make mistakes, but who doesn’t? I have full faith in them, our defence when it’s good is difficult to overcome.”