AC Milan boss Vincenzo Montella says he will sleep easier without having to face Gonzalo Higuain when his team travel to play Napoli on Saturday.
After securing a 3-2 victory over Torino in his first match in charge, Montella takes Milan to Stadio San Paolo to face last season’s runners-up.
The head coach feels Napoli are ahead of his team in terms of their development but is glad they will be without Higuain, who scored a Serie A record 36 league goals in 2015-16 before joining Juventus in a €90million move.
“Higuain is a player who makes you lose a few hours of sleep, so on the whole I’m glad he won’t be there,” Montella said at his pre-match media conference.
“But we are facing a team which is competing for the Scudetto. It’s a team which has lost Higuain but strengthened in other departments.
“They are continuing with their football philosophy, so from that point of view they are further ahead of us.
“This is a very important match in terms or our ambition and our competiveness. I want to evaluate the performance more than the result.
“I want to see a team with personality, courage and confidence. We need to take the principles we have been working on into the match.”
Montella calmed for calm after he was criticised for stating that his target for the season was Europa League qualification.
He said: “I hope I can change that goal, but it usually takes about 10 matches to determine the table that is emerging. There will be time to think about other things.
“We are only taking our first steps, we can’t even think about the Europa League, first and foremost we have to think about our game. We have to grow in every area.
“Milan played some fine matches last year followed by others where they lacked in concentration. I want to work on this, focusing all our attention on this game – Torino is in the past.”