Davide Calabria has thanked a number of different figures at Milan for his resurgence this season, and insisted he and the team worked hard together to improve.
The right-back has been one of the best stories of the season so far as he seemed almost certain to be sold last summer but has seized a spot in the starting XI and has not let go thanks to a string of consistently good performances.
The full-back has given an interview to newspaper il Corriere della Sera about his rise back to prominence so far this season and the campaign so far.
“I worked a lot, we worked a lot. Yes, it’s true, it’s as if Milan and I had grown together in this last year. We understood where there was to improve. and we did it. In silence, even when everyone was talking,” he said (via MilanNews).
Milan fell to their first away league defeat of the season on Saturday as they were soundly beaten 2-0 by Spezia. Much like the Atalanta game at San Siro, the Rossoneri were outthought and outfought in all departments who were good value for the win.However, Calabria is not worried.
“It was a bad day. The classic game where everything is wrong, everyone. But it’s already behind us. Now let’s raise our heads. Don’t panic, we’ll get out of it working. With humility, concentration, enthusiasm.
“For the first place in the table it’s a long race, nothing is compromised. What matters is to finish first. But now the head goes to the cup: we care a lot, we want to get to the end. Europe is Milan’s natural environment. We will think about the derby from Friday.”
There are still a few days left until the match against Inter, but thoughts are already on the derby against the Nerazzurri.
“It can change the season, of course. That’s why we want to win tomorrow in Belgrade: winning helps to win. Then we will think about the derby. And to win it, of course. Even in the first leg they thought we were underdogs, right?”
Are Inter the strongest team? “They are the best equipped together with Juve. But everything is very open. I repeat: we just have to keep quiet and work, as my father taught me.”
The full-back then gave thanks to director Paolo Maldini and head coach Stefano Pioli for the faith they showed in him.
“I owe a lot to Maldini. He has encouraged me since I was in the youth sector. I have been a Milan player since I was a child. Milan was my dream and I kept it tight.
“Pioli? There had been some misunderstanding in the early days. It was not easy for me to learn to play as he asked me. Then we talked a lot, we compared each other and today I improved a lot, thanks to his teachings. We have an exceptional relationship, he’s a great coach and a great man.”
Finally, on what he learns from Ibrahimovic: “To give more, always. Zlatan makes a difference. You look at him and you feel stronger. He taught us to have the winning mentality, to be from Milan.”