Giampaolo stands by style ahead of Milan derby

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Former Sampdoria boss Giampaolo was hired in June after Milan missed out on UEFA 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 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 rival 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 said.

"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 is the favourite for the first Derby della Madonnina of the season after winning its 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."