APPIANO GENTILE – which will kick off at 20:45 CET on Sunday 9 February, Antonio Conte spoke to the press at the Suning Training Centre.

This is what the Nerazzurri Coach had to say ahead of the matchday 23 clash in Serie A: “Earlier on in the season, we faced each other on matchday four.

It was the start of the season, meaning neither of the two sides knew what lay ahead. Back then, Giampaolo was in the Milan dugout, whereas now Pioli is the coach.

Derbies are very big matches and the fixture between the two Milan sides is an important one, but we need to remain focused on the game because winning it would mean picking up three points.”

With regard to the significance of the #DerbyMilano and the importance of playing as a team: “On a personal level,

every match brings out strong emotions in me. We’re focused on the fact that we’re about to play a match which is worth three points.

Nevertheless, it is a Derby, and this makes things harder because there’s even more desire to prevail. For me, it’s about a match where points are at stake.

It’d be important for us to pick up a result, with this also applying to Milan. Teamwork wins the Derby, not individuals.

The team need to do well in terms of bringing out the best in individuals.”

Sunday’s Derby marks the start of a tough run of games for the Nerazzurri: “We know that we’ve got a big set of fixtures against strong teams coming up, AC Milan are one of those teams and the Derby brings with it plenty of pitfalls which we need to be careful of.

We have our own journey to continue, we need to keep growing and stay focused on ourselves. After this set of games we’ll have a clearer idea about where we’re at.

What’s important is that we continue to build in the right way and with the right sense of humility.”

Along with others in the group, this will also be a first #DerbyMilano for Eriksen: “He’s a new player at Inter and we’re pleased that we managed to get him.

He’s got precise characteristics and we signed him because he can fit into our style of play, it will be very important to work with him from both an offensive and defensive point of view, because he’s playing in a new and different league.

We’re much more focused on tactics here in Italy so it’s only right that he has time to get used to our style of play, but he’s an excellent and intelligent player.”

Finally, a word on Pioli’s team: “AC Milan are much better than where they’re currently at in the table, they’ve got a great team and they’ve added a champion like Ibrahimovic to it; he’s brought experience, awareness and confidence.

I think that it’s right that all of the best players are available for the big games, even in terms of entertainment. I always hope to face the best players in big games like this.”