Romelu Lukaku said Inter demonstrated their never-say-die mentality after the Serie A title hopefuls produced a stunning comeback to beat Milan 4-2 in the Derby della Madonnina.

Inter trailed 2-0 at half-time but produced a memorable fightback to leapfrog defending champions Juventus atop the table in the race for the Scudetto.

Goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Matias Vecino, Stefan de Vrij and Romelu Lukaku ensured Milan was painted blue in honour of the Nerazzurri as the Rossoneri collapsed at San Siro.

"We did really well during the second half. They played well during the first half, as we left them too much space and we struggled," Lukaku, who netted his 17th league goal of the season to complete the scoring in stoppage time, told Sky Sport Italia.

"However, we came out well after the interval. We completed the comeback and we're delighted with the win. I think that everyone has seen this team's mentality, we never give up and we're always looking to win.

"I'm here to win and my only aim is to help the team get results. I want to thank all of the fans, my team-mates, Mister [Antonio] Conte and all of his backroom staff for the support that they're giving me."

Inter were outplayed in the first half before rallying in the second 45 minutes and De Vrij told Inter TV: "The coach made us understand what he wanted and where to improve during the break, fortunately we scored two goals in quick succession and we were back in the game. We won.

"The goals were incredible feelings and memories that will last forever. Winning is a unique feeling. It's tight in the table so we have to continue like this and win our games. We'll start focusing on Napoli now because it won't be an easy game on Wednesday."

Antonio Conte believes "everything will depend on Juventus" in the Serie A title race despite Inter moving top of the table with Sunday's Derby della Madonnina win.

A second-half comeback saw Inter recover from 2-0 down to beat Milan 4-2 in a pulsating derby at San Siro.

Marcelo Brozovic, Matias Vecino, Stefan de Vrij and Romelu Lukaku scored in the second half, moving Inter level on points with Juventus.

But Conte said the title was not in Inter's hands, with Juve chasing a ninth straight Scudetto.

"It is a dream for us, as well as for Lazio. It can be like that also for Atalanta or Roma," the Inter head coach told a news conference.

"We are talking about a championship dominated by one team over the years that fully deserved to win.

Conte added: "Everything will depend on Juventus. I have heard also some Juventus players saying so.

"At the same time, we must be ready."

Goals from Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put Milan in control before Inter's fightback, with Conte's side drawing level just eight minutes into the second half.

Conte said Inter's improved depth was helping, having added Christian Eriksen, Ashley Young and Victor Moses to his squad in January.

"Honestly, we never had major physical problems," he said.

"The only issue is that in the first part of the season we had to play mostly with the same players.

"When the same people play every three days it is inevitable that you will pay a price in terms of physical condition.

"Today, we have the chance to make some more turnover."

Stefano Pioli vented his anger after Milan collapsed in an absorbing 4-2 derby defeat to Scudetto hopefuls Inter in Serie A.

Leading 2-0 at half-time thanks to Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan conceded four goals in a stunning second half at San Siro on Sunday.

Milan were on track for their first Derby della Madonnina victory in Serie A since 2016, until two goals in as many minutes from Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino levelled proceedings within eight minutes of the interval.

Inter exposed Milan defensively as Stefan de Vrij and Romelu Lukaku earned bragging rights for Antonio Conte's side and sent the Nerazzurri top of the table.

Unbeaten in seven matches prior to the derby, Milan head coach Pioli told Sky Sport Italia: "I am angry with my players, because we had some defensive duties in those situations and the moment we let it go, we were punished.

"It's a real pity, as we were in control and outplaying a strong team, making it look like there was never a 19-point gap between us. We had defensive duties and we did not perform them.

"It was absolutely our best first half of the season, but we lost a derby that we had been winning, and we must build on the qualities we showed in that first half. The match must be analysed on the whole.

"We cannot leave Brozovic unmarked on the edge of the box and we cannot allow Alexis Sanchez to spring the offside trap. These are things we know and ought to do properly.

"I have to be angry, I have to be upset, because I need to get it into the minds of these players that they are capable of great things if they avoid those errors."

Pioli, whose 10th-placed Milan almost snatched a 3-3 draw in the closing stages via Ibrahimovic's header which hit the post, added: "The first half saw our strategy work very well and perhaps we deserved to be more than 2-0 up.

"Unfortunately, those two incidents where we should've done much, much better changed the game on a level of mentality. Conceding two goals in three, four minutes made all the difference.

"We had the chance at the end to equalise 3-3 with Ibra, but we were too distracted on the goals. Inter are a much more experienced team than us and more accustomed to playing certain games, so they got back into it. We were also unfortunate, as we hit the woodwork twice."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Milan "stopped playing" as the star striker lamented the Rossoneri's collapse after they surrendered a two-goal lead against city rivals Inter in a thrilling Derby della Madonnina.

Milan's 2-0 half-time lead was wiped out in a matter of minutes by Serie A title hopefuls Inter, who turned the derby on its head with four unanswered goals to sensationally win 4-2 at San Siro on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic provided the assist for Ante Rebic's 40th-minute opener before becoming the oldest Serie A goalscorer in Milan derby history in first-half stoppage time.

Milan, however, were unable to hold on against Inter – who produced a stunning comeback to leapfrog defending champions Juve atop the table.

"It's difficult to explain what happened," the 38-year-old Ibrahimovic told Sky Sport Italia after scoring his third goal since returning to Milan in January.

"At half-time we told ourselves, the first 15 minutes going back out there will be crucial, and in that 15-minute spell we conceded two goals.

"We stopped playing, the team stopped believing, we stopped pressing, didn't pass it around enough. From the equaliser onwards, everything collapsed.

"I think a lot of it is down to experience, because you must know how to control a game at 2-0 up, not just winning at the end.

"It's strange, because our first half was practically perfect. I expected more from Inter and the first-half performance did not look like a team worthy of second place. They did after the break."

Inter are ahead of Juve on goal difference after 23 games, while Milan are 10th and 10 points adrift of the Champions League places.

Antonio Conte admitted Inter were at risk of "a hammering" before they came from two goals down to beat Milan 4-2 in the Derby della Madonnina and go top of the Serie A table.

Goals from Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Milan two ahead at half-time, but quickfire strikes from Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino levelled the contest inside eight minutes of the restart.

Stefan de Vrij gave Inter the lead before Romelu Lukaku capped an unforgettable evening for the Nerazzurri with a stoppage-time goal, and Conte was full of praise for his gutsy side's comeback.

"It was a special night, that's for sure," Conte told Sky Sport Italia. "The first half saw us in real difficulty, perhaps more than we've ever been this season, and there was the risk of a hammering.

"Instead, we did well to get the balance back, to understand where we had to improve, to have faith in what we were doing and the credit goes to these lads.

"Aside from the result, I am happy to see them resist under blows and turn it around, as that means they are preparing for something truly important.

"It's still very early to talk about something we can for now dream of. We can have a dream."

Despite Inter's second-half transformation, Conte had little to say about his half-time team-talk and instead claimed his share of responsibility for a calamitous first-half display.

Inter face Napoli in their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg on Wednesday before taking on fellow title-chasers Lazio in Serie A on Sunday, and Conte looked ahead to a crucial run of games.

"It's going to be a very intense period for us coming up and, after that, I think we'll have a better idea of our potential and our real capabilities," said the Inter boss.

"We can't achieve everything from one day to the next, but we are building. These lads proved they have great strength and guts today.

"I didn't need to talk much at half-time. I think in difficult situations, you have to be very clear and take responsibility. I had a large share of the responsibility for the fact we were losing 2-0 at half-time.

"We stayed together, from start to finish, and found our way out of a tough situation. We have to keep this evening in mind, as it will help us be a team in future and deal with similar difficulties."

When the Inter and Milan starting XIs lined up before a cacophonous San Siro on Sunday, there were all the usual sights.

Fierce, steely stares, necks being flexed, legs shaken out. Big-match anxiety writ large.

Then there was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, turning around wide-eyed to survey the scene and wearing a big grin.

Perhaps he knew all along. Or thought he did.

Ibrahimovic's return to this fixture was a blessing for Milan, largely because it diverted the attention away from the gulf that has opened up between themselves and their great rivals since Antonio Conte took charge of the Nerazzurri.

"He is a champion who gives Milan quality and charisma," Conte said of Ibrahimovic in the build-up, although even in acknowledging this he could scarcely have envisaged the first-half evisceration his title-aspirants would endure, before turning the tables to top the table with a 4-2 derby win for the ages.

Now 38, Ibrahimovic's frequent aggrandisement – which always seemed to pinball between self-deprecation and a yawing lack of self-awareness – has come to grate as much as it entertains.

It was easy to conclude a Milan marooned in mismanagement and mediocrity had bought into the myth rather than the aging man the wrong side of major knee surgery when they offered him a route back from his expected retirement home in Major League Soccer.

The Rossoneri entered Sunday's game seven places and 19 points shy of Inter, but yet to taste defeat in the seven matches since Ibrahimovic's second debut.

In this Derby della Madonnina – a fixture where he, of course, knows both sides of the divide – he was Milan's talisman.

Stefano Pioli's team drove forward from kick-off and there were 67 seconds on the clock when Ibrahimovic lashed over on the volley from Samu Castillejo's cross.

The most striking element of the veteran's early contribution was his capacity to elevate those around him. Castillejo always had someone to hit from the right flank and was a constant threat, while Ante Rebic looked more like the player from Croatia's run to the 2018 World Cup final as opposed to the beleaguered individual Milan were recently hoping to send packing back to Eintracht Frankfurt.

The twinkle-toed Hakan Calhanoglu was the pick of the bunch, rifling against the post after nine minutes and popping up with palpable menace across the final third thereafter, never far away from a shrewd pass or lay-off to Ibrahimovic.

Inter were struggling to get out of their own half and, in line with trepidation painted across a touchline-prowling Conte, they fell behind.

Of course Ibrahimovic was involved, muscling above Diego Godin to knock down Castillejo's cross for Rebic to scramble past a bizarrely hesitant Samir Handanovic.

A VAR review did not spare Godin, the sort of reprieve it is hard to imagine would sit well with the gloriously grizzled centre-back. In mano-e-mano combat he simply came off second best to an opponent on a mission.

If Ibrahimovic's role in the opener was about brute strength, for number two he resorted to stealth, stealing into space at the far post as Milan Skriniar's gaze was diverted to the ball. Soon enough it was behind him and being nodded into the net by the man of the moment. Arms aloft, script fulfilled.

Only Conte and his warriors in blue and black, with the blood of an undulating Scudetto race in their nostrils, had other ideas.

Antonio Candreva thumped goalwards in the 51st minute. Blocked. Marcelo Brozovic thumped harder. 2-1.

In a flash, it was all square as a darting Alexis Sanchez was played onside by Andrea Conti's heal and he cut back for Matias Vecino to score.

Godin supplied the pass to Sanchez and the sense of Inter's centre-backs being freed from their earlier Ibrahimovic ordeal was underlined by Stefan de Vrij heading home, putting them on course for the sweetest of victories.

Ibrahimovic thundered a long-range free-kick just wide, crashing it into the advertising hoardings with the same force Milan's earlier dreams met reality, and a towering header hit the post.

Having just about negotiated the man with the occasional God complex, Conte brought on Victor Moses to set up a fourth for the prolific Romelu Lukaku. It's 54 points apiece with Juventus at the summit and Inter, with goal difference in their favour, might just have taken a significant step towards their promised land.

Inter came from two goals down to earn a famous 4-2 victory over Milan in a gripping Derby della Madonnina that sent the Nerazzurri top of Serie A.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to haunt his former club with a goal and an assist for Ante Rebic as Milan raced ahead before half-time, but the 38-year-old striker could not maintain his unbeaten run since returning to San Siro in January.

The Rossoneri's hopes of causing an upset faded in the space of two second-half minutes that saw Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino plunder quickfire goals to get Inter back on level terms.

Antonio Conte's men took the lead 20 minutes from time through Stefan de Vrij's superbly executed header and Romelu Lukaku scored in second-half stoppage time to make sure his side leapfrogged Lazio and Juventus into top spot.

Antonio Conte predicted the Milan derby will stoke strong emotions for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and said he has "great respect" for the Rossoneri striker.

Milan are unbeaten in five Serie A games since Ibrahimovic arrived on a free transfer from LA Galaxy in January, the 38-year-old scoring once in the league and once in the Coppa Italia.

After missing Milan's 1-1 draw against Hellas Verona due to an illness, Ibrahimovic is expected to be available for selection on Sunday.

Stefano Pioli's men trail Inter by 19 points ahead of the Derby della Madonnina but Inter boss Conte said Ibrahimovic's uplifting effect on his team-mates would make for a better game at San Siro.

"I think it's nice to see all the players available in the most important games," Conte told reporters. "The spectacle benefits.

"He is a champion who gives Milan quality and charisma.

"I have great respect for Ibra, he is a former Inter player and I think that for him, in terms of emotions, it will be a strong game."

Conte was asked about the fitness of Samir Handanovic, after the Nerazzurri goalkeeper suffered a hairline fracture in his left hand, but gave little away.

"The medical staff can speak about specific situations - they are much more competent than I am," he replied.

He spoke more positively about Christian Eriksen's progress, the midfielder having played twice since joining Inter from Tottenham, in a 2-0 Serie A win at Udinese and a 2-1 Coppa Italia victory over Fiorentina.

Asked how long the 27-year-old needs to be 100 per cent fit, Conte said: "I hope not so much. He played part of the match against Fiorentina and started in Udine.

"He needs the right time to learn my ideas but he is a very intelligent boy. He quickly understands our game principles and I'm happy for that.

"Eriksen is a player who arrived at Inter with precise characteristics. We bought him for a certain way of playing.

"Let's not forget that in Italy there is much more tactical emphasis and more is asked than abroad. Often they are not very fixated on some situations: it is right that he has his time to get into his idea of ​​the game."

Milan will be without Rade Krunic for the Derby della Madonnina against Inter due to a metatarsal fracture that will keep him out for at least a month.

Krunic sustained a stress fracture to the third metatarsal of his right foot and will undergo further x-rays in March, Milan announced on Saturday.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina midfielder sat out last weekend's 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona and is now set for a prolonged period on the sidelines.

Krunic, 26, has made 11 appearances for the Rossoneri since joining from Empoli last July.

Milan, who are hopeful of having Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from illness to face Inter on Sunday, sit ninth in Serie A, 19 points adrift of Antonio Conte's men in second.

Milan coach Stefano Pioli is hopeful Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be fit to face Inter in the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday.

Veteran striker Ibrahimovic sat out last weekend's 1-1 draw against Hellas Verona through illness and has spent this week undertaking an individual training programme.

Milan are unbeaten in seven matches since re-signing the 38-year-old and he could return to take on Scudetto-chasing Inter at San Siro.

"Ibrahimovic has been doing a specifically planned training regime aimed at getting him back for [Saturday's] training session. If he takes that step he will be available," said Pioli.

"We have done everything to get him back from flu and calf fatigue. That path has been the right one but now he has to complete training with the team."

Inter sit second in Serie A, three points adrift of leaders Juventus, and have not lost a domestic match since going down to the Bianconeri on October 6.

With Milan sitting ninth and needing a strong finish to the season if they are to have any chance of making the top four, Pioli called on his team to use Ibrahimovic's famous confidence and desire as inspiration.

"I don't know what the distance is between us and them, but I know we will be facing a team that hasn't lost for a long time," said the Milan boss. "We must all have the face of Ibra: fired up and ready to play.

"We respect our opponents, they are a strong side in every department, compact and technical. It will be a difficult game but we must have conviction and positivity.

"You have to prove you have clear ideas and that you prepared for the game well. You have to carry it on for 90 minutes. There will be difficulties but well-defined concepts and ideas must keep you as a team from start to finish.

"We have to do this [on Sunday] and for the rest of the season. An important period begins tomorrow."

A season is a long time in football.

Rewind to 2018-19 and Inter pipped Milan to the fourth and final Champions League spot by a solitary point.

Fast forward to this season and Milan find themselves ninth and 19 points adrift of their title-chasing Serie A neighbours in February.

As Milan and Inter prepare for Sunday's latest instalment of the Derby della Madonnina, we look at why the Rossoneri have fallen so far behind the Nerazzurri this term.

 

COACHING APPOINTMENTS

Inter brought in a winner. The Suning Holdings Group were determined to sign former Juventus and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and they got their man. 

Milan were linked to Conte, but Paolo Maldini and the red half of the city were never able to provide the funds necessary for his arrival. Instead, Milan turned to Marco Giampaolo as the replacement for Gennaro Gattuso. There were high hopes for Giampaolo, given the brand of football on show during his time at Sampdoria. However, cracks quickly appeared and he was sacked after just seven games, which included a 2-0 loss to Inter.

That led to Stefano Pioli. An unpopular choice having previously coached Inter, Maldini and the board found themselves under pressure. Despite hardly being an exciting appointment following spells at Fiorentina, Lazio, Bologna and Palermo, Pioli has overseen some improvement. Milan have gone seven games without defeat, though the jury is still out.

 

SIGNINGS

Finances help but recruitment could not be further apart. Boosted by the income of Champions League football and the demands of Conte, Inter have splashed the cash in 2019-20. It took a club-record transfer to prise Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United. Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Christian Eriksen, Alexis Sanchez, Diego Godin, Ashley Young, Victor Moses and Cristiano Biraghi have all joined the blue half of Milan and made impacts. Valentino Lazaro also arrived but has since moved to Newcastle United on loan.

The additions of Gonzalo Higuain and Leonardo Bonucci were supposed to awaken sleeping giants Milan in 2017, helping to restore their glory days, but the transfer market has not been kind to the Rossoneri. Milan's recent woes can be traced back to the signing of Krzysztof Piatek last term. The Poland striker had taken Italy by storm just six months into his move to Genoa with 19 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions. It prompted Milan to spend big and while there were glimpses of his talent, Piatek's January switch to Hertha Berlin proves they were hasty in their decision to entrust him with the iconic number nine shirt.

The purchase of Theo Hernandez has proven to be a bargain, while Rafael Leao and Ismael Bennacer are some of Maldini and Zvonimir Boban's better deals when you compare them to the likes of Rade Krunic, Leo Duarte and Ante Rebic – who up until the turn of the year was virtually non-existent.

Then there is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. His return in January raised some eyebrows, given his age at 38, but the superstar striker has provided leadership and character to the dressing room, helping the team on a seven-match unbeaten run. A rare tick for Milan in recent transfer windows.

 

OFF THE FIELD

Inter are a club thriving on and off the pitch. Conte and CEO Giuseppe Marotta – his trusted friend at Juventus – have the Nerazzurri dreaming of the Scudetto. Milan, on the other hand, could not be further away from ending a title drought dating back to 2011.

A lot of Milan's problems stem from ownership and numerous changes at the top. The last time Milan claimed the Scudetto, Silvio Berlusconi was in charge and Ibrahimovic was playing alongside Ronaldinho, Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta. Since then, a Chinese consortium pledged to lead Milan back to the promised land in 2017. It turned out the new owners did not have the funds required and it led to Elliott Management taking over. The change in ownership sparked upheaval – CEO Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli were replaced, while Leonardo came and went.

While doubts remain over Maldini and Boban, Milan need a period of stability – especially off the field – to help get back to challenging for domestic and European honours.

Eric Abidal's interview tipped Lionel Messi over the edge.

Normally quiet, especially on social media, Messi used Instagram to hit out at Barcelona director of football Abidal, who had earlier suggested some players were not working hard enough prior to Ernesto Valverde's sacking.

Barca superstar Messi is reportedly unhappy with how things are unfolding at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI TIRED OF BEING BARCA SCAPEGOAT

Lionel Messi is tired of being held responsible for everything that happens at Barcelona amid doubts over his future, according to COPE and Marca.

Contracted until 2021, captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi snapped back at Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal for bad-mouthing players at the club as he discussed Ernesto Valverde's exit.

It comes amid discontent towards the board and Barca's struggles on the pitch.

Clubs in China, the United States and the Middle East would all be interested should the Argentine opt for a change of scenery.

 

ROUND-UP

- Has Paul Pogba played his last game for Manchester United? The Red Devils are resigned to losing Pogba at the end of the season, reports The Mirror. Linked to Real Madrid and former club Juventus, Pogba has not featured since December due to an ongoing ankle problem.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United will prioritise signing Aston Villa star Jack Grealish as fellow midfield target James Maddison nears a new deal with Leicester City.

Atletico Madrid will consider Mauricio Pochettino as their next head coach if they move on from Diego Simeone, reports the Telegraph. Pochettino continues to be linked with United, who are struggling under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

- Standard Sport claims Chelsea will sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele at the end of the season after failing to land the Frenchman in January.

- Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is a target for Arsenal, reports The Sun. Arsenal enquired about the 22-year-old Brazilian's availability last month.

Milan snubbed the chance to sign Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic in January, says Calciomercato. Matic is out of contract at season's end but is open to extending his time in Manchester.

Milan will be forever grateful to Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he had "nothing to prove" and "everything to lose" by returning to the struggling Serie A giants, according to chief football officer Zvonimir Boban.

Ibrahimovic re-joined Milan last month after leaving the Rossoneri in 2012, and the 38-year-old striker has made an immediate impact at San Siro.

Since arriving on a free transfer from MLS outfit LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic has lifted the spirit in the dressing room and scored twice in five appearances.

Milan have not lost since Ibrahimovic's comeback – a run of seven matches – and Boban praised the former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain star.

"Ibra is a very charismatic player and he is super professional," said Boban, whose Milan are eighth in Serie A. 

"He joined the team with a very humble approach despite he is a player with a great strength under many aspects.

"He had a real impact on his young team-mates and his arrival was a huge boost to their confidence. It was not easy, but he just found the perfect way to understand the delicate moment our players were going through.

"We will be grateful to him for this forever because he had nothing to prove coming to Milan and everything to lose."

Gianluigi Donnarumma also continues to play a key role for Milan this season – the Italy international goalkeeper an ever-present in 2019-20 with eight clean sheets.

Former Milan keeper Dida, who won two Champions League titles and the Serie A among other honours during his time with the club, lauded the 20-year-old star.

"Donnarumma doesn't need any advice," Dida said. "He grown up in the last year and now he is very mature for his age. In the past he had some misunderstanding with Milan fans but now you can see he is very focused and is doing great things for Milan.

"He made some great saves this season, he always approach the game with the right attitude. You can see he is matured. He just need to keep working as he is doing."

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic could make a surprise move to Atletico Madrid ahead of next season.

The Croatia international is reportedly unhappy at Camp Nou and has been linked with a move away since the off-season.

Now, a stay in LaLiga could eventuate, but away from Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO BEGIN TALKS WITH BARCELONA'S RAKITIC

Atletico Madrid are already negotiating with Rakitic about a possible move at the end of the season, according to Cadena SER.

The 31-year-old is contracted at Barcelona, where he arrived from Sevilla in 2014, until 2021.

Rakitic admitted on Sunday he considered leaving the club in January, and it seems a move is likely come season's end.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reported interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, James Maddison is close to agreeing a new contract with Leicester City, according to The Telegraph. Maddison has starred for the Premier League club this season and is poised to sign a lucrative long-term deal.

- Frank Lampard is set to face a battle at Chelsea. The Mirror reports the head coach wants to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga – who became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao for a reported £71.6million (€80m) in 2018 – but is set to face resistance from the board.

- Atletico Madrid and Roma are interested in Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard, according to ESPN. Lingard is coming out of contract in 2021 but also holds a one-year extension option at Old Trafford.

- Are Milan set for another coaching change? Bild reports Red Bull's head of international relations and scouting, Ralf Rangnick, is in advanced talks to become the Serie A club's head coach and sporting director once the season is over. Stefano Pioli only took charge of Milan in October, replacing Marco Giampaolo.

- Inter almost signed Islam Slimani, who is on loan at Monaco from Leicester City, last month, according to CalcioMercato, which reports the Serie A club's move came late in January before collapsing.

Milan lack the personality required to play for the club when Zlatan Ibrahimovic is absent, according to Fabio Capello.

Ibrahimovic was ruled out of the Serie A meeting with Hellas Verona on Sunday due to illness and Milan were held to a 1-1 draw at San Siro.

Verona played the last 22 minutes with 10 men after Sofyan Amrabat was shown a red card following a VAR review of his lunge on Samu Castillejo, but the Rossoneri were unable to score a winner.

Capello - who won the Scudetto with the club as a player in 1979 and in the 1990s coached them to four league titles and Champions League success - feels Ibrahimovic is the only player with sufficient character for the club.

"He is an important player, the point of reference for the whole team. When he's there, two defenders are focused on him," he told Radio Anch'Io Sport.

"I saw a timid Milan again at San Siro. When Ibrahimovic is there instead, he does different things.

"But it's not [coach Stefano] Pioli's fault. The players go out with fear and this means they don't have the personality to play for Milan."

Juventus have a three-point lead over Inter at the summit as they seek to win Serie A for the ninth straight season.

Lazio are two points behind Inter, but Capello believes they lack the depth required to compete with Juve and Inter in the long term.

"Inter have added many players to the squad who do not make a difference like the two strikers, but who can help Conte keep things fresh until the end of the season," he said.

"Lazio don't have that. They are two teams that want to try to win and this is a very important thing. Juventus must be very careful."

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