Carlos Bacca is brimming with confidence ahead of AC Milan’s trip to Palermo on Wednesday after they thrashed rivals Inter 3-0 at the weekend.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men struggled to find their best form in the opening weeks of the 2015-16 campaign, but they have closed to within six points of third-placed Fiorentina following a four-game unbeaten run as they chase a Champions League return.
They will be looking to add three more points to their tally in Sicily in midweek and Bacca believes their derby victory on Sunday will serve as a huge boost.
“There were lots of new players at the start of the season and it took time to gel, but now we are a team and we are tough to beat,” the Colombia international told the club’s official website.
“We play to enjoy it and even away from the pitch there is a great spirit amongst the squad.
“The win over Inter could give us a big boost, but we also have to play well on Wednesday away at Palermo.
“We have to keep our feet on the ground though. We must keep on working hard.”
And Milan have every reason to feel confident heading into Wednesday’s encounter following their recent run of form.
The San Siro side have lost only one of their last nine Serie A fixtures, winning four and drawing the remaining four.
Additionally, they have won five of their last seven games against Palermo in the Italian top flight, including the last two, while they have scored eight goals in their last three visits to Palermo (2.7 per game).
Palermo, meanwhile, have done well in recent weeks to move away from the relegation zone, collecting seven points from their last four games.
The Sicilians had to settle for a draw against Carpi at the weekend, but saw off Udinese 4-1 the week before and now sit 14th in the table with 25 points from 22 games.
They were beaten 3-2 by Milan in the reverse fixture, with Bacca netting the winner.
Head coach Giovanni Tedesco will be hoping Alberto Gilardino can do something special against his former club. The experienced striker tops Palermo’s scoring charts with six goals, two ahead of Swedish midfielder Oscar Hiljemark.
Key Opta facts:
– Palermo have taken four points from their last two league games – the last time they went three games without defeat was in September.
– Mario Balotelli has scored five goals against Palermo – more than against any other Serie A opponent.
– Milan have 36 points. In the last two seasons they’ve had just 29 points at this stage.
– Both Palermo and AC Milan have scored eight headed goals – no other side have netted more in this Serie A campaign.
– Last Saturday, Carpi became the 38th Serie A side against which Alberto Gilardino has scored – he now shares this record with Francesco Totti and Roberto Baggio.
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