Milan face a stern test to maintain their mini-revival under Clarence Seedorf on Sunday when Serie A leaders Juventus visit San Siro.
Under the stewardship of the Dutchman, Milan have played six league matches, winning four and losing just once in a 3-1 reverse at Napoli.
Despite the upturn in fortunes, a massive 31-point gap separates Milan, who have endured a massively disappointing campaign on the whole and sit ninth, from their fellow Italian giants.
In what has traditionally been a match that has helped determine the destination of the Serie A title, Juve will start as strong favourites having not been beaten in the league since October, a run that spans 17 matches.
There appears little reason to suggest that Juventus’ unbeaten run will end in Milan, but midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is determined to spring a surprise on Antonio Conte’s men.
“We need a victory against a big team, for reasons relating to the table, but also for our self-esteem,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“And with Juventus it is the right night in which to do it. We know that we have the capability and quality to play a great game and to cause them trouble.”
Milan have serious doubts over the fitness of striker Mario Balotelli, who picked up a shoulder injury in the recent UEFA Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid.
The Italy international trained separately from the rest of the squad on Friday.
Juventus are able to call on one of the league’s deadliest partnerships in the form of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.
The duo have claimed 24 league goals between them this season and were rested for Juventus’ midweek 2-0 victory at Trabzonspor in the UEFA Europa League.
Tevez and Llorente can therefore expect to be fresh and ready, along with influential midfielder Paul Pogba, who was withdrawn in the first half on Thursday once Juventus had effectively confirmed their progression to the last-16.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is another forward option for Conte, the on-loan Southampton man having bagged his second goal for the club against Trabzonspor.
One disappointment for Juve is that influential midfielder Arturo Vidal will sit out the match through suspension, but the Chilean is confident his team-mates will rise to the challenge in his absence.
“I’m gutted I can’t play against Milan,” he told Juve’s official website. “But I know my team-mates will play well even without me.”
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