Pato ready for Milan derby

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The Independent Football

AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato believes victory in tomorrow's derby clash against Inter will dispel the notion Jose Mourinho's men are better equipped to win the Scudetto this season.

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Brazil international Pato is confident Milan are every bit as good as the Nerazzurri and is hoping to show it at the San Siro to put down an early marker for the rest of the season.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: "Against Inter it will be a special clash. Anything can happen.

"They are strong, they won the league title, but we're not inferior at Milan.

"Winning the derby can boost our confidence and increase our self-esteem."

Pato's team-mate Andrea Pirlo also talked up Milan's chances after questioning Inter's style of play and dismissing Mourinho's customary mind games.

"Our play is beautiful compared to Inter's. Mourinho's tricks don't work anymore," Pirlo said.

"Their long ball game is not enough nowadays."

Milan had a quiet summer in the transfer market, adding Holland striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar from Real Madrid with Kaka going the opposite way.

Huntelaar missed last weekend's 2-1 season-opening win at Siena through suspension but is expected to return for the derby.

Another Dutchman who could make his bow, this time in the blue and black of Inter, is Wesley Sneijder, who today completed a move to the Serie A champions from Real Madrid.

Sneijder has signed a four-year deal and may be thrust straight into a red-hot atmosphere.

Inter's title defence got off to a stuttering start last weekend with a home draw against a Bari side which is expected to struggle this term.

But goalkeeper Julio Cesar is adamant the team are progressing well after a strong pre-season.

He said: "Aside from the draw in the home match against Bari, I think the team is working well.

"We can play a good match, but the two matches we played against Milan in the summer (90 minutes in the USA and 45 in the Tim Trophy) are inconsequential.

"It will certainly be a completely different match on Saturday. It will be hard, but we want to get back to winning ways immediately in the league."

Inter were more active over the summer in recruiting new players, spending the money accrued from the sale of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona.

Samuel Eto'o came as part of that deal alongside the likes of Diego Milito, Lucio, Thiago Motta and now Sneijder.

Milito, who moved from Genoa, is relishing the prospect of playing in a derby so early in his Inter career.

"We are excited about this start of the season, playing a derby is always nice," he said.

"Let's hope it's a good game not just for me, but for all of Inter.

"We've already faced the Rossoneri during the pre-season in America, but that was just for preparation. Now it will be important to win but it will especially be a chance to do well.

"Inter are a growing team. Are we the best? I don't know, we are only aware we have a great squad, then we'll have to see what the pitch says."