Inter's greater experience was a key factor in their 2-0 Derby della Madonnina win, according to AC Milan head coach Marco Giampaolo. 

Second-half goals from Marcelo Brozovic and Romelu Lukaku secured a deserved triumph for Antonio Conte's side, preserving their 100 per cent record and place at the top of Serie A. 

Milan only threatened sporadically, managing a solitary shot on target through Krzysztof Piatek, while they were indebted to goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma for averting a heavier margin of defeat. 

The start of the Giampaolo era at San Siro now reads two wins, two defeats and two goals scored, and the former Sampdoria boss knows there is plenty of work to be done with a group of players he felt lacked composure under pressure. 

"My analysis is that we started with some hesitancy, but after 15 minutes we settled," he told DAZN. 

"Inter had something more in terms of experience, but we managed to fill that gap before half-time. 

"I was not happy how we reacted in an emotional way to their goal. It was a messy reaction and the thing I liked least overall. 

"Players were going into areas of the pitch they were not supposed to be in, so when losing the ball, we left gaps uncovered. I liked the courage to keep pushing forward but we lost our shape." 

Giampaolo sprung a surprise by handing Portuguese youngster Rafael Leao a first Milan start and he felt the forward will have learned plenty from the experience of going up against the likes of Diego Godin in the Inter defence. 

"I liked his performance. He has one-again-one speed, good pace and personality and I thought that could cause problems for the Inter defence," he explained. 

"He must learn to stay in the game throughout. Diego Godin up against him is a different experience. The good thing is Leao is not a timid player." 

Romelu Lukaku hailed his relationship with head coach Antonio Conte after scoring in Inter's 2-0 derby victory over city rivals AC Milan.

The former Manchester United striker discussed the extra motivation he has been given by Conte, who has guided Inter to four consecutive victories in Serie A.

Inter were comfortably the better side in Saturday's derby, Marcelo Brozovic's deflected effort early in the second half being followed up by Lukaku's impressive header 12 minutes from time, which led to a celebration between him and the ex-Chelsea boss.

Conte's men also hit the post on three occasions and found Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in inspired form on a night that could easily have produced more goals.

For Lukaku, the convincing win was a perfect answer to a poor Champions League draw against Slavia Prague on Tuesday.

"My relationship with Conte is very strong," Lukaku said to DAZN.

"He is a coach who really helps me. At the age of 26, I want a coach like this, who motivates and helps me every day.

"I am very happy to be here and to be working with him. This match is very important for us and we are pleased with the three points.

"The game with Slavia Prague was difficult, but we prepared well and gave a strong reply."

Conte, meanwhile, believes there is still much more for Lukaku to give, and he felt Inter's European struggles drove his team on.

"He is 26 years old and arrived here thanks to his potential," Conte said of Lukaku, who reportedly clashed with Brozovic in the dressing room on the night of the Slavia match.

"If we work with him properly, he can become extremely important. He can give even more and I told him that too.

"Brozo and Lukaku are exceptional lads and if anything, I get cross with them because they are too nice. They need to be more clinical on the pitch.

"Quarrels mean there is blood in the veins and a desire to improve. I've been a player, I've argued with team-mates many times and then gone out to dinner with them afterwards. It's not a big deal and they enjoy being together."

Conte added: "We were coming off a performance in the Champions League that left a bitter taste in the mouth and fired us up even more to go into the derby in the right way.

"The lads played a good game in every aspect. It's a deserved victory, I am happy for our fans, because derbies are special games and never easy to win.

"I am happy with our Serie A start, less so in the Champions League, but I do also believe that setback can help bring us back on to the right path.

"A commander can have his plans, but he needs the foot soldiers to go out and execute the orders, so I am fortunate to have very good, disciplined players."

City derbies, with their heady blend of familiarity and ferocity, can make enemies of neighbours and friends at the best of times.

In Saturday's Derby della Madonnina, Inter ultimately secured the bragging rights through an authoritative 2-0 win, but midway through the first-half their wing-back Danilo D'Ambrosio was likely ruing Gianluigi Donnarumma's pre-match words.

"With D'Ambrosio, I have a beautiful relationship," the Italy and Milan goalkeeper told DAZN. "He is my compatriot and he also lives near me."

Best mates with the opposition are we, Danilo? Probably best not to hit the post from three yards out with the goal gaping in that case.

In truth, it was a slice of fortune Donnarumma earned on a day when longevity and goalkeeping greatness were a focus in Serie A.

Gianluigi Buffon played his 902nd club match earlier on Saturday as Juventus battled to a 2-1 home win over Hellas Verona, matching the mark set by Milan great Paolo Maldini.

Donnarumma entered senior football as a fully formed teen sensation, already dubbed Buffon's heir. He was also on the books at Milan from the age of 14, steeped in the history of a club defined by one-club men like Maldini. They were big gloves and boots to fill.

Still only 20, he has travelled plenty of road since then. For a long time, none of it felt particularly smooth.

Mino Raiola's typically bombastic attempts to engineer more money and a blockbusting transfer for his client drove a wedge between Donnarumma and the Milan faithful. Then there was the steady drip, drip, drip of errors that threatened to become a deluge.

When Inter beat Milan 1-0 11 months ago, Mauro Icardi – another man well-versed in player-fan relations – scored the winner after a wretched misjudgement from the Rossoneri keeper. On this occasion, it often felt like Donnarumma and his 6ft 5in frame was the only realistic bridge between a yawning gulf in class.

His first big save came in the 18th minute, thwarting Romelu Lukaku after Lautaro Martinez's cute pass played in his strike partner.

Donnarumma's stop to deny the impressive Martinez was stunning three minutes later, with D'Ambrosio on the rebound seemingly one of those briefly distracted.

There was no suggestion of a neighbourly favour when the Inter man propelled himself skywards for a thumping overhead kick. Again, Donnarumma saved and an offside verdict meant Martinez converted the rebound in vain.

A cruel deflection from Marcelo Brozovic's speculative 49th-minute strike felt like the only way Donnarumma was likely to be beaten at that stage, although Inter's 100 per cent start to the Serie A season scarcely seemed under threat from that point.

A bustling Lukaku is brimming with confidence and directed home a fine header to seal victory. Antonio Conte has always felt his best teams operated near their peak with a "point of reference" striker. Inter have that in Lukaku and he might just take them all the way to the Scudetto.

Milan's aims under Marco Giampaolo must be more modest after they managed a solitary shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes – the exciting front two of Krzysztof Piatek and Rafael Leao too frequently isolated as playmaker Suso faded to the margins.

But in Donnarumma they have a young man who has weathered a storm, partially of his own making, and is back on the road to superstardom. He and Milan might yet enjoy a beautiful relationship of their own.

Marcelo Brozovic and Romelu Lukaku struck as Inter continued their 100 per cent start to the Serie A season and extended a strong recent record in derbies against city rivals AC Milan with a 2-0 victory.

A deflected strike from Brozovic four minutes into the second half and a late clincher from Lukaku settled a contest that Antonio Conte's men always looked the more likely to win.

Milan, the designated home team at the shared San Siro, only produced one shot on target and were comfortably kept at arm's length by Inter after the opening goal.

The Rossoneri have now lost two of their first four games under coach Marco Giampaolo and failed to beat Inter in seven consecutive league derbies.

The first big chance came when Lautaro Martinez slipped Lukaku through on goal, the Belgium striker's right-footed shot forcing a one-handed save from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

A better opportunity arrived in the 21st minute, but Danilo D'Ambrosio could somehow only hit the post from four yards on the rebound after Donnarumma made a reaction save from Martinez, the opening created by Stefano Sensi's clever cut-back.

Inter almost paid the price for those misses when Hakan Calhanoglu found the net, but the goal was disallowed because Kwadwo Asamoah's poor clearance was adjudged to have struck the arm of Franck Kessie on his 100th Milan appearance.

D'Ambrosio thought he had made amends with a stunning overhead kick which was somehow saved by Donnarumma and tucked in by Martinez on the rebound, but an offside flag halted the move.

Inter broke through after the break though, Brozovic's strike from the edge of the area taking a wicked deflection off Rafael Leao to beat Donnarumma after Sensi's lay-off.

And the win was sealed 12 minutes from time with Lukaku guiding a well-judged header into the far corner from Nicolo Barella's left-wing cross.

Matteo Politano's late curler struck the crossbar and Antonio Candreva's deflected shot bounced off the inside of the post as Inter threatened a third, with Milan left to reflect on a forgettable performance that also saw Theo Hernandez strike the woodwork in the closing minutes.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has matched Paolo Maldini's record of 902 appearances at club level after being handed a rare start against Hellas Verona.

The 41-year-old returned to Juve during the close season after a one-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain and has also previously represented Parma.

Unlike Maldini, who spent his entire career with Serie A rivals AC Milan, Buffon's appearances have been spread across three clubs.

He played 220 times for Parma at the start of his career, was used 25 times in a largely underwhelming campaign with PSG last time out and has now featured 657 times for Juventus.

Buffon was handed his first appearance of the season for Saturday's home league clash with Verona, while Aaron Ramsey was also named in the starting line-up for the first time since joining the club.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte believes Italian football's "hate" culture has worsened since he returned to Serie A.

Cagliari fans subjected Inter striker Romelu Lukaku to monkey chants before he took a penalty when the sides met in Serie A on September 2.

On Monday Italian television station TopCalcio24 dropped pundit Luciano Passirani and apologised after he made a racist comment about Lukaku.

Conte resumed his management career in his homeland when he joined Inter in May following two seasons in the Premier League with Chelsea.

The 50-year-old was speaking at a news conference on Friday ahead of their San Siro clash with city rivals AC Milan, which has been called the 'Derby Against Racism'.

"I came back after three years and found everything worse," Conte said.

"A lot of hatred, resentment. It is only to insult and foment hatred. This is very bad. This exists in Italy and is getting worse and worse.

"I had the luck to have an experience in England, where they throw them [supporters] in jail and throw away the keys, they don't come to the stadium anymore.

"We need to improve. That's why in England you see families at the stadium. I repeat: we have to improve everyone.”

Conte also took a swipe at the media and claimed they perpetuate the problem to a large degree by stoking up rivalries.

He continued: "I found an Italy worsened to the nth degree and we are all guilty. Including you [the media] who are sitting there. We are not exempt.

"It is easy to make articles after something has happened and to put yourself on the side of reason. 

"They are articles that foster lack of respect. We will all have to do an examination of conscience. I repeat: I had been absent for three years, I found something multiplied many times. 

"I think it is anti-educational towards the generations that are coming because they are born in front of the keyboard reading hate and violence.

"The solution would be to send positive messages. Do not stir up violence and accentuate the rivalry.

"I think that communication has a very important role in this because the reader can read hatred or positive things and can continue on a certain wave."

AC Milan are set to launch an anti-racism task force to tackle discrimination in Italian football.

Milan's initiative had been several months in planning but, following several high-profile incidents in Italian football, they accelerated matters to launch at the Derby della Madonnina against bitter rivals Inter on Saturday.

The contest has been rebranded the "Derby Against Racism", as the Rossoneri aim to "demonstrate solidarity with some of the most high-profile targets of the negative behaviour".

The decision to bring the announcement forward comes in the wake of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku suffering alleged racist abuse during matches in September.

An Italian football pundit was also suspended from television show TopCalcio24 for using a racist remark when praising the performances of Lukaku.

Announcing the campaign, Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis said: "Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviour.

"AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue, promoting basic human values that are relevant to us all. Football provides a powerful example of the strength of unity and teamwork.

"Diversity, inclusion and tolerance enhance the strength of the team, the club and of society as a whole. We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.

"This first significant step aims to visibly demonstrate that we will be proactive in our efforts to tackle racism in football. These values transcend football rivalries and we are delighted to have the support of Inter for this initiative."

Marco Giampaolo is convinced AC Milan's players will adapt to his style of play as he talked down the importance of this weekend's derby with Inter.

Former Sampdoria boss Giampaolo was hired in June after Milan missed out on Champions League qualification by a single point under Gennaro Gattuso last season.

The Rossoneri failed to register a shot on target in their 1-0 loss at Udinese on the opening weekend of the Serie A season, but they have since earned 1-0 wins against Brescia and Verona.

Giampaolo has reportedly toyed with the idea of reverting to a three-man defence but, speaking on the eve of the showdown with bitter rivals Inter, he vowed to stand by his tactics until his players get it right.

"Defeating Verona was an important step. The team is improving game after game," he told reporters.

"The team understand well and knows my football philosophy and what I want to present.

"During the summer the team played in the way we wanted them to, in the league they did less.

"Perhaps we are struggling because we are still trying to adapt. We had players coming back late from various international tournaments.

"I am convinced that working together we can reach a high level of football. It doesn't mean we will win everything but I'm convinced we will have an easy and clear playing identity. The key is to work together."

Inter are favourites for the first Derby della Madonnina of the season after winning their opening three league matches under Antonio Conte.

Giampaolo acknowledged what is on the line at San Siro this weekend, but insisted it is still too early in the campaign to be a defining match.

"Our goal is to win. It's important to play well and maintain our project but at the same time we have to give the fans the exploits they aspire for," he said.

"You need to be tactically sound. This is certainly one of the most difficult games we can play so we have to be out our very best.

"It is definitely an important game as it always has been. I don't know whether Inter are in a better shape than us. I am confident in my team.

"The derby is a crossroad for Milan? No, but the derby is important. It's not fundamental or crucial - it's only the fourth game."

Giampaolo was also forced to play down rumours of a falling out with Lucas Paqueta, who appeared to take a dig at his coach on social media after being accused of being 'too Brazilian' with his style of play.

"We had a chat," Giampaolo said. "The media like to make a big deal out of nothing. It was a good way to sell papers ahead of the derby but there's nothing major between us."

Kaka insists it is still too early to judge AC Milan head coach Marco Giampaolo, while he is tipping his former side to earn bragging rights against Inter this weekend.

Giampaolo was poached from Sampdoria during the close season and has made a steady if unspectacular start to life at San Siro.

Milan failed to register a shot on target in their 1-0 loss at Udinese on the opening weekend of the Serie A season but have since responded with back-to-back 1-0 wins against Brescia and Hellas Verona.

Next up for Giampaolo's men is Saturday's clash with league leaders Inter and Kaka, who spent two spells with Milan in his playing days, has stressed the importance of taking three points from the first Derby della Madonnina of the season.

"I think for Milan the derby is really important, because it's the first one and it's Milan against Inter," he told Omnisport. "We're playing at home and it would be nice to see Milan win a derby like this. 

"Inter have started the season very well, but in my opinion Milan will win. It will be good for their Scudetto chances. If they want to win the league, it's important that they win this game."

Milan turned to Giampaolo after finishing a point outside the Champions League qualifying places last season.

"So far I think he's done good. He's OK," Kaka said. "If I'm not wrong it's just three games [in charge]. 

"What he's doing he's doing good. We will see. As a Milan supporter I'm expecting that Milan can win something this year and at least come back into the Champions League."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set on his determination to bring young British talent to Manchester United.

There are four English names on the United manager's radar, apparently, as he looks to rebuild the team into a title-winning force once more.

The end of the season could potentially see a spend of a similar magnitude to the £150million, more or less, that he spent on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this year.

 

TOP STORY - MADDISON AND SANCHO TOP SOLSKJAER'S WISH LIST

As per ESPN, Manchester United will pursue deals for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and Leicester City's James Maddison in 2020.

Manager Solskjaer is set on his policy of recruiting young, hungry British talent and remains keen on signing Sancho, who was reportedly a target this year.

United believe Leicester could sell Maddison for around £70m and are also interested in Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff, Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson and Stoke City's Nathan Collins.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona have been ordered by a judge to pay a €300 fine or play a match behind closed doors as part of Atletico Madrid's complaint against the transfer of Antoine Griezmann, Marca say. Atleti believe they are owed more than the €120m Barca paid to activate his release clause.

- The Daily Mail report Napoli are interested in Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, a player they value at around €34m (£30.1m). 

- A handful of reports in Italy suggest Bernard Arnault, the billionaire owner of Louis Vuitton, is interested in buying Serie A giants AC Milan

- Back with Manchester United, and Calciomercato say JuventusInter, Milan and Borussia Dortmund are all keeping an eye on Nemanja Matic, who has grown frustrated at his reduced role in Solskjaer's plans.

Hellas Verona have insisted they will always condemn incidents of racism, with the club adamant they were not made aware of any abuse allegedly aimed at AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

The Serie A side issued a tweet on Monday distancing themselves from reports that Kessie was targeted during Milan's 1-0 win at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Kessie is alleged to have been subjected to monkey chants from a small section of home fans, but Hellas have reiterated in a statement on their official website that the suggestions are "baseless".

"Hellas Verona FC, in reference to what was put out today by the club's Twitter account, specify that it was not at all a final position to understate any discriminatory behaviour, which has taken place on various playing fields," the statement read.

"That's because we've always condemned these incidents, committing ourselves directly to various initiatives so as to confront them and fight them as much as possible and within our competence.

"That said, we therefore believe it was simply our duty to emphasise that, in the face of some baseless news, except for the sound of whistles and general disappointment from fans regarding some debatable incidents during the game, we weren't made aware of any chants against the opposing player Kessie, nor did we hear any.

"Nevertheless, we reiterate once more that we'll always be firm in condemning any misconduct which should occur in the future, with a collaborative spirit and sensitivity."

Hellas Verona have denied their supporters racially abused AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and demanded more respect for their fans.

Kessie was allegedly targeted during Milan's 1-0 Serie A win at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Monkey chants are reported to have been aimed at the Ivory Coast international, but Hellas have issued a statement on Twitter to refute those suggestions.

"Racist chants against Kessie? Insults against [Gianluigi] Donnarumma? Maybe someone was baffled by the decibel of the Gialloblu supporters," the club tweeted. 

"[We heard] unavoidable whistles against the referee's decisions which still leave us very perplexed today. 

"And then, lots of cheers for our gladiators at the end of the match. Let's not stumble on cliches and old labels. Respect for Verona and its people."

AC Milan coach Marco Giampaolo reflected on "issues" to deal with in his side after watching them beat Verona 1-0 in a game that left him determined to improve the Rossoneri attack.

A turbulent match was settled by Krzysztof Piatek's second-half penalty, which came after Verona had Mariusz Stepinski sent off and before Milan's Davide Calabria was given his marching orders, and Giampaolo acknowledged that the margin of victory was a narrow one.

He pointed to Verona's packed defence as a significant factor in his side's struggle for goals and also took a swipe at his predecessor, Gennaro Gattuso, by saying that his side had not yet learned to play as a collective.

"The team is working well, finding its balance and I know there are some strengths and weaknesses, but I work to improve the individuals and the team," Giampaolo told Sky Sport Italia.

"Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; there is no perfect side. I like the effort and passion we put into the game, but errors can happen.

"A team that defends with 10 men in their final third are difficult to break down. Verona played their honest defensive game and we were constantly pushing forward. We didn't do it perfectly and of course there is plenty to work on and improve, but the victory helps us to work.

"I won't just brush the dust under the carpet; I know full well we need to improve and there are issues we have to deal with."

The result left Milan with two wins and a defeat from their opening three games of the 2019-20 Serie A season and performances have been steadily improving.

After failing to register a shot on target in their 1-0 defeat to Udinese, Milan edged to a 1-0 victory over Brescia.

Against Verona, Milan had 17 shots on goal, with Suso, Hakan Calhanoglu and Franck Kessie picking their hosts apart with some intelligent approach play, but Giampaolo said his plans for the team have yet to be realised.

"I don't like to improvise," he said. "I want my team to have a structure to work on and some guarantees to build on. There are many talented individuals in the side and I still need to get them to fit within the context of the team unit.

"We must be honest. I don't hide. This team is trying and is accustomed to playing as individuals, whereas I must get them working in the service of the collective.

"We must learn to attack better, that is true."

Krzysztof Piatek scored his first Serie A goal of the season to help 10-man AC Milan secure back-to-back victories in a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona, who also had a man sent off in a tempestuous clash at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Rossoneri boss Marco Giampaolo restored Piatek to the starting line-up after dropping him from his previous teamsheet and he tucked away a second-half penalty to ensure the visitors claimed all three points from a bruising encounter.

Verona had Mariusz Stepinski sent off after 21 minutes for a dangerous challenge but the newly promoted side matched Milan for long periods and caused Giampaolo's defence plenty of problems.

Milan are improving as the season progresses and, after failing to register a shot on goal in their 1-0 defeat at Udinese on the opening day, they created ample opportunities to score here as Suso took up his role as creator in chief.

But the chance that mattered most was Piatek's spot-kick, and the 24-year-old, who scored nine league goals last season, opened his account for 2019-20 before Davide Calabria was dismissed in second-half stoppage-time.

Milan were on the back foot early on as Gianluigi Donnarumma made a double-save, parrying Marco Faraoni's cross away from goal before claiming Mattia Zaccagni's overhead kick in both hands.

Verona were on top when Stepinski caught Mateo Musacchio on the ear with a high challenge that earned him a straight red card following a VAR review.

But the 10 men continued to press and Valerio Verre fired over the crossbar in spectacular style when he controlled a long pass and volleyed with exceptional control.

Substitute Ante Rebic should have broken the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half but he mistimed his shot and Suso's weighted cross went to waste.

Davide Calabria thundered a volley onto the post from 30 yards as Milan heaped pressure on their hosts, who hit the post themselves through Verre before a handball in the box by Verona defender Koray Gunter presented Piatek with a chance from the penalty spot that he lashed into the bottom corner of the net.

Piatek had the ball in the net again when Marco Silvestri spilled Hakan Calhanoglu's shot and he slid in to poke it over the line, but after a VAR review the referee judged a foul had been committed.

There was more late drama as Calabria caught Matteo Pessina with his arm as the substitute headed towards the box. The Milan full-back was sent for an early shower but Verona's Miguel Veloso and Darko Lazovic missed chances to grab a late, late equaliser.

What does it mean? Giampaolo's men improving

Two wins from their first three outings of the season is a reasonable start for Milan, who are starting to gel in attack and are cutting out mistakes at the back.

Suso so important

Milan function best when Suso is on form and he was their attacking lynchpin here, dictating play and constantly probing at a resolute Verona defence.

Paqueta hooked after quiet half

Lucas Paqueta was ineffective in attack in the first half and Milan improved substantially after he was replaced by Rebic.

What's next?

The Milan derby is next up for Giampaolo's men as they aim to be the first side to take points from Inter this season, while Verona take on champions Juventus in Turin.

Krzysztof Piatek scored his first Serie A goal of the season to help 10-man AC Milan secure back-to-back victories in a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona, who also had a man sent off in a tempestuous clash at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Rossoneri boss Marco Giampaolo restored Piatek to the starting line-up after dropping him from his previous teamsheet and he tucked away a second-half penalty to ensure the visitors claimed all three points from a bruising encounter.

Verona had Mariusz Stepinski sent off after 21 minutes for a dangerous challenge but the newly promoted side matched Milan for long periods and caused Giampaolo's defence plenty of problems.

Milan are improving as the season progresses and, after failing to register a shot on goal in their 1-0 defeat at Udinese on the opening day, they created ample opportunities to score here as Suso took up his role as creator in chief.

But the chance that mattered most was Piatek's spot-kick, and the 24-year-old, who scored nine league goals last season, opened his account for 2019-20 before Davide Calabria was dismissed in second-half stoppage-time.

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