Alessandro Costacurta does not feel the Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Inter carries much weight as he does not think either side will qualify for the Champions League.
Both Milan sides have suffered severe declines in recent seasons – the Rossoneri last appeared in Europe’s elite club competition in the 2013-14 season, while Inter have not qualified since 2011-12.
It is a theme Costacurta – a seven-time Scudetto winner and five-time European champion with Milan – expects to continue this term.
Third-placed Milan meet Inter at San Siro on Sunday in Stefano Pioli’s first game at the Nerazzurri helm, and the former defender found it difficult to separate the two.
“For me, it’s not an important derby in terms of the table, because, in my opinion, neither team will finish in the Champions League,” Costacurta told MilanNews.
“It’s a different derby as Inter have just changed coach, while Milan are in excellent form. I see Milan as favourites, because the difference with Inter recently has been the very good spirit, which often wins games.
“When you change coach and there’s a derby, though, things change. I can assure you though, I’ve played a lot of derbies as favourite and didn’t win many times.
“In fact, I won more starting as an underdog… So I’d say Inter [will win] but let’s hope not!”
However, Costacurta believes by strengthening in midfield and defence in January, Milan can return to the Champions League for next season.
“I think if they [Milan] can remain in this position until January then the club will make an effort to improve the squad, to allow the Champions League dream to be more than that,” he added.
“Personally I see Milan as being behind other teams, and to try to close the gap they should go and get another central midfielder.
“[Manuel] Locatelli is doing very well, and he’ll do well in the future, but I don’t think he can withstand the whole season. For me they need a midfielder quickly.
“I’d also look to get another central defender, [Alessio] Romagnoli and [Gabriel] Paletta are doing well but I’m not sure they’re 100 per cent reliable yet.”