San Siro, Italy

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  • Walter Samuel 3'

AC Milan v Internazionale: Preview

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri insists there are no favourites in the Milan derby and would not exchange any of his young stars for Inter striker Antonio Cassano.

Italy holds its breath ahead of the first 'Derby della Madonnina' of the Serie A campaign, as the Rossoneri and Nerazzurri put inconsistent starts aside for one night in the battle for bragging rights in Lombardy.

In fact, both Milan clubs go into tomorrow night's game after an upturn in form, with Allegri's men in particularly high spirits following a 3-2 victory over Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League.

The Rossoneri boss told ``I believe the derby will be a game unlike any other and there are no favourites this time.

``Traditionally the team that is higher in the league is the favourite. They're five points ahead of us.

``But I want to enjoy the international break so getting a good result will be important.

``We know the game will be difficult because they have players with international experience and battle scars. We have to play a great game and be more cunning than them.

``I don't envy Inter at all, I'm happy to have these young and enthusiastic boys at my disposal, even if they do occasionally make mistakes.

``When there is unity in the team then it's easier to get results. I saw it against Zenit, they were helping each other out.''

All eyes will be on Cassano, who stunned Milan by handing in a transfer request this summer before crossing the San Siro to sign for Andrea Stramaccioni's Inter.

Allegri added: ``There are not many players in the world who pass the ball better. We need to keep on top of him.''

Inter striker Diego Milito agreed with Allegri's analysis of his mercurial partner in crime.

He told the Gazzetta dello Sport: ``Cassano reads the game like few others.

``As soon as he turns, he's looking for a team-mate making a run. I think he likes making assists more than scoring goals.

``The secret to playing alongside him is to watch him all the time, because he is watching you.

``Antonio can smash a game wide open. He always wants the ball to his feet.''

Inter are tomorrow night's 'away' side at the San Siro and Cassano is in danger of receiving a frosty reception from the Milan faithful.

But Milito added: ``They'll be doing him a favour. He'll just get fired up by it.

``If he's feeling the nerves ahead of this match, then he's hiding it very well.''

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