AC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo has warned his team-mates that the Coppa Italia final against Juventus could be the last chance for many of them to prove they deserve a future at San Siro.
Milan, who have only won the Coppa Italia once since 1977, go into Saturday’s game in Rome as heavy underdogs, with holders Juventus looking to secure back-to-back doubles.
After finishing seventh in Serie A, Cristian Brocchi’s men must win if they are to qualify for next season’s Europa League and Montolivo thinks it would be wrong to write them off, despite Juve having beaten them twice this term.
“This is a big chance and it is the last chance for us to prove our quality,” the 31-year-old said.
“There is not much point in talking now – Saturday is the last examination, the last chance for everyone to prove they deserve to be part of this team.
“Juve start as favourites, but we can hurt them and I believe in this team. The games against them in the league were balanced – we could have easily beaten them in the second league meeting and we have the ability to cause them problems
“We won’t start off the match defeated. We are going to battle and you will see a fully focused Milan.
“We need team spirit and to play between the lines. We are the first to believe in ourselves and we have trained well this week. The thing that we have got wrong most often is our mentality, but that won’t happen this time – we will play a good game.”
Montolivo concedes Milan have been inconsistent this season, but is optimistic they have the ability to beat anyone on a good day.
“This will be my second final after Euro 2012,” continued the Italy midfielder. “We are all eager to get the match underway, we cannot wait.
“We will need to be on our toes and play as a team. We have shown this on several occasions this season while in others we have not and we have put in some woeful performances. Good team spirit will be needed.”