AC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo says his side must make amends for their disappointing performance against Atalanta when they meet Juventus in Serie A.
A run of three consecutive victories came to a grinding halt as Atalanta held Milan to a 0-0 draw at San Siro last time out, and Montolivo is keen to get back to winning ways against the defending champions.
Milan are sixth in the table after recovering from a poor start to the season and Montolivo credits coach Sinisa Mihajlovic for the turnaround in fortunes.
He told La Repubblica: “There will always be criticism. Perhaps we are lacking something in terms of determination, but Mihajlovic has improved a lot of areas in which we struggled last season.
“He has ironed out a lot of our weaknesses. It’s not easy to resolve a lot of things right away, but he has already done a great deal.
“We made a bad start and we are playing catch up. But in between the two international breaks, the results and performances have started to arrive, with the exception of the Atalanta match.
“Unfortunately, that is the match stuck in people’s minds. We are going through a positive period and it will be a great match versus Juventus.”
Milan are just two points above Juventus in the Serie A standings, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side having started to recover their form following an underwhelming start to the campaign.
After registering just one win in their opening six matches, Juve have won four of their last six, losing just once – a 1-0 defeat to Sassuolo at the end of October.
And Alvaro Morata hopes the Turin outfit can maintain their momentum and leapfrog Milan in the Serie A table.
He told JTV: “Historically it’s the biggest match in Italian football. We’re looking to win it and to continue our climb up the table.”
Milan will be without Mario Balotelli for the trip to Juventus, as the striker continues his recovery from a groin injury, and Nigel de Jong misses out due to a thigh problem. Midfielder Andrea Bertolacci is unlikely to be fit for the game following a muscle strain.
Juventus could be without goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who picked up a thigh complaint playing for Italy against Romania, and coach Allegri is awaiting the results of fitness tests on Stephan Lichtsteiner, Martin Caceres (both thigh) and Mario Mandzukic (ankle) ahead of the game.
Key Opta stats:
– Juventus have suffered four defeats (4W, 1D).These two sides have met 160 times in Serie A: the Bianconeri lead by 58 wins to 48, with 54 draws.
– Juventus have won five Serie A clashes in a row against AC Milan for the second time in their history (first time between 1980 and 1984) – they have never enjoyed six consecutive wins so far.
– These two teams have not drawn in Serie A at Juventus’ ground since 2006: six wins for Juventus and two for AC Milan.
– Juve have won their last two Serie A games – they have not managed three wins in a row since last April.
– Juventus have lost none of the eight games played this season in all competitions with Claudio Marchisio in the starting XI (4W, 4D) – in the other nine matches Juventus have suffered four defeats (4W, 1D).