Marco Giampaolo has played down rumours of a confrontation with Lucas Paqueta and discussed other members of his Milan squad ahead of Saturday’s derby.
The Rossoneri take on their fierce rivals and neighbours Inter at San Siro this weekend, looking to bring an end to their perfect start to the season.
Milan sit on six points after three games but the Nerazzurri are on nine out of nine under Antonio Conte ahead of the latest instalment of one of football’s best and most historic rivalries.
Giampaolo’s side are looking to overturn their fortunes in this fixture from recent years, and you can read our preview for the game here.
The build-up to the game was overshadowed earlier in the week by rumours of a disagreement between Giampaolo and Paqueta.
Paqueta posted an Instagram story after the game stating that he is ‘proud to be Brazilian’ – a statement which some construed to be a dig at his manager after he said Paqueta ‘needs to be a little less Brazilian at times’.
The midfielder’s agent Eduardo Uram denied rumours that there is any kind of rift between the former Flamengo star and his boss on Tuesday in an interview with TMW.
Now, Giampaolo has moved to quash the rumours too, speaking to reporters in his pre-match press conference (via MilanNews).
“It was just a chat between me and Paqueta,” he said.
“The media like to make a big deal out of nothing. It was a good way to sell paper ahead of the derby but nothing major between us.”
Two players who may start the game include Ante Rebic and Lucas Biglia, with La Gazzetta dello Sport claiming on Friday that both are set for a spot in the XI.
“Rebic is working hard, he is an enthusiastic guy. He has the right approach,” Giampaolo said.
“Biglia is a very experienced player, he knows how to play tough games. But tomorrow we start the game in 11 and 14 players will play.
“It’s important for the players who have been here for long years to help others settle in. Donnarumma has a lot of experience so he can definitely help.”
One player who was heavily linked with a move to Milan was Stefano Sensi, but he ended up moving to Inter where he has scored twice already this season. Giampaolo, though, has no regrets.
“Transfers have nothing to do with me. I love the players I coach, but I have no interest in those who are not at my disposal.”
On Davide Calabria’s replacement, he concluded: “Conti will play. It’s a chance for him. He has been playing well.
“I get the impression he developed and improved a lot compared to few months. He’s always been aware that he as to improve his defending and I’m convinced he’s improved.”