February 8, 2020 / 2:01 PM / 19 days ago

Milan's Ibrahimovic set to play in derby after flu, says coach

MILAN (Reuters) - AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is likely to feature in Sunday’s Serie A derby with Inter Milan after flu said head coach Stefano Pioli who has urged his players to follow the striker’s example.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - AC Milan v Sampdoria - San Siro, Milan, Italy - January 6, 2020 AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo/File Photo

The 38-year-old Swede, who joined the club for a second spell on a free transfer during the January transfer window, missed Milan’s 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona last Sunday.

But Pioli said Ibrahimovic should recover in time to feature in the ‘Derby della Madonnina’ between the city rivals.

“He has undergone an individual training programme,” Pioli told a media conference on Saturday.

“Today he is training with the squad and if he gets through that, he will be available tomorrow.”

Milan are undefeated since Ibrahimovic’s arrival last month, with five wins and two draws in all competitions, and Pioli believes the veteran’s presence can inspire his team mates.

“We’re facing a team that hasn’t lost for some time,” he said of Inter whose only league defeat this season was at home to champions Juventus on Oct. 6.

“Tomorrow we must all have the face of Ibrahimovic, fired up and determined. We must maximise our potential.”

Pioli’s side are ninth on 32 points, 19 adrift of second-placed Inter, who are hoping to close the three-point gap to leaders Juve.

“Inter did better than us from the start of the season until December, but now we are trying to make up lost ground and we hope to play well in this derby,” he said.

“You prepare for every game with the intention of winning, but there are some matches that are worth more than others. Derby games are must-win fixtures.”

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris

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