Thiaw lifts lid on pre-derby homework, impact of new signings and feeling with Kjaer

By Oliver Fisher -

Malick Thiaw is looking forward to the battle against Inter on Saturday in the derby, and is also relishing the personal duel he will have with Lautaro Martinez.

The build-up to the derby has not been ideal for Stefano Pioli, who saw 15 internationals leave Milanello to go and represent their country while Pierre Kalulu went down with a muscle problem meaning he can’t replace the suspended Fikayo Tomori.

Although the experienced Simon Kjaer should now partner Thiaw at the heart of the defence it is arguably the German who will have to lead, given that he is now an immovable member of the starting XI and has shown growth game by game.

Thiaw was present with Rafael Leao and Davide Calabria at the Gentleman Fair Play awards ceremony last night, and he was asked questions by the journalists present, with his words relayed by MilanNews.

On the award: “This shows that I did a good job and made me realise that I have to work even harder and that I can achieve my goals.”

On the derby: “The derby is special, this time we try to do our best.”

On Lautaro: “He is a really strong player, I have challenged him several times but I will try to stop him.”

On Kjaer: “The coach decides who plays with whom. Kjaer? I think he is a very experienced player, very good, who talks a lot and I feel very comfortable playing with him. I hope he feels comfortable too to play with me.”

On Maignan and Theo: “Yesterday we played against France and we won the match, this makes me happy. After the match we talked a bit and I made some jokes with them.”

On if the team have studied recent derbies: “Yes, of course, last season wasn’t very good, but now we have a new team and I think we will prepare well for the match and then we’ll see.”

On Maldini: “Paolo did a good job, in football you always change and you have to be prepared for certain situations.”

On the new signings: “Yes, we have a lot of good players and I think this makes the job easier and we hope to prove it on Saturday. I really like playing with them, they have had a good impact and I hope to be able to talk even more in the future, I am very important players for this.”

Tags AC Milan Malick Thiaw
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