Playing the city rivals is always a big match of course. The current season has Milan sitting at top spot half way through it with many important matches to come in order to hold on to the spot. Coaches especially and players too will never admit that a game is less important than another, playing Inter makes such feelings even less likely. But this Coppa Italia match up does feel less important than any other derby. Winning this quarter final match will add a two leg semi final match up (vs the winner of the Juventus – Spezia in the other Coppa quarter final) in the up coming two weeks. Immediately afterwards there are another two legs versus Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League round of 32. The injury situation added to the fixture list would perhaps make a coach pause and decide to assign less emphasis on this Coppa Italia match, perhaps.
Calhanoglu, Kalulu, Gabbia and Bennacer are still out. The latter is due to return versus Bologna on the weekend. Mandzukic, who made his Milan debut in the loss to Atalanta, is said to have a knock and is not 100%. That leaves fewer available players but which are better off being rested for this match?
Tatarusanu should start in Donnarumma’s spot. Other candidates for rest surely include Kjaer, Hernandez and Kessie. On defense if Tomori is seen to be ready he should get a start. Musacchio would be a possible candidate but reports are that he is off to Lazio on a cheap deal so he might have already played his last game for Milan. Meite and Tonali could start in midfield behind Rebic, Diaz and Saelemaekers. Castillejo has played a lot of minutes recently but could perhaps retain his place for the Coppa match and a more rested Saelemaekers gets the Serie A minutes. Leao is also available and in regards to Ibra the player himself would dictate how rested or healthy he feels and he would probably relish playing against Inter following the Atalanta disappointment three days earlier.