Serie A Preview: Milan v Torino
By Football News
If Clarence Seedorf is to continue Milan's turnaround in fortunes against Torino on Saturday he must do so without striker Mario Balotelli.
While Seedorf saw Milan bow out of the Coppa Italia to Udinese last week, he has a 100 per cent record in Serie A since taking over from Massimiliano Allegri earlier this month.
Balotelli has been a key figure in Milan's revival, scoring in each of the three games under Seedorf, while also grabbing the winner in the corresponding fixture last season at San Siro.
However, the Italy international striker will miss out on the visit of Giampiero Ventura's men this time round after triggering a suspension due to a booking in the 2-1 win over Cagliari last Sunday.
Seedorf's two league wins in charge leaves Milan ninth in the table, but victory on Saturday will not move them any further up the league.
Three points, however, would put Milan within a point off their opponents in sixth and captain Riccardo Montolivo feels Seedorf's arrival has already helped get the best out of his team-mates.
"With Seedorf we have begun a new era at the club. Hopefully everything will go well," he said.
"I think we have a good team, but Clarence’s impact has been great."
It promises to be Seedorf's biggest test yet as Milan boss with Torino flying in Serie A - just a point off Inter who occupy the final European qualification spot.
Torino have lost just once in their last nine matches in all competitions and are unbeaten in three, having not conceded a goal since January 6 against Parma.
It is the first time Torino have kept three consecutive clean sheets in Serie A since May 2007. but historically it is Milan who have the upper hand, especially at San Siro.
Five of the sides' last eight meetings in Milan have ended in victories for the hosts, with Torino scoring only twice on their last six visits to San Siro.
Michael Essien could make his debut for Milan, having completed his first training session at the club on Wednesday, while Torino could be without defender Danilo D'Ambrosio, who is reported to be close to joining Inter.