Italy: Milan clubs need derby win to buy time for rebuilding

 

With Napoli the main threat to another Juventus title the Milan derby may seem a sideshow in Serie A but there is much intrigue in tomorrow's match. Both clubs are rebuilding but, as Andre Villas-Boas discovered at Chelsea, big clubs expect to keep winning while regenerating.

Internazionale, out of the Champions League for the first time in a decade, promoted youth team coach Andrea Stramaccioni and are finally easing out the generation that took them to the European crown in 2010. Milan have also been forced to recognise economic forces and old age with the departure of players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Antonio Cassano, Rino Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf.

So far Inter's rebuild has gone more smoothly. They lie third in the table, four points behind Juve. Milan, having lost at home to Sampdoria and Atalanta, have taken longer to settle and are 11th, nine points adrift. Massimiliano Allegri has credit in the bank having won the 2011 title but, said former Milan player Joe Jordan, "clubs as big as Milan and Inter do not have too much patience."

However, Jordan, an ESPN analyst, added: Milan let eight players go, big players we can all name, that is not an easy thing to do but it was something consciously done and the club have said Allegri is not under threat. However, this is a huge game. If you win a derby it gives you a bit of a breather, if you lose one, the assessment starts again.

"It is a transitional period for both clubs. They have brought in players, young boys who are not so well known as those who have gone, they have an opportunity. But Inter have still got real quality up front in Wesley Sneijder, Antonio Cassano and Diego Milito."

ESPN show exclusive coverage of Milan v Inter and Marseilles v PSG Visit espn.co.uk/tv for details

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