Donnarumma: With Ibra on the pitch, Inter are less scary

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Gianluigi Donnarumma believes Milan have narrowed the gap to Inter ahead of the first derby of the season, a game that seems "less scary" these days thanks to the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Rossoneri have a miserable recent record against their city rivals, their last league win in the fixture coming back in January 2016.

However, after a strong finish to the 2019-20 season that resulted in a contract extension for coach Stefano Pioli, Milan have opened the new campaign with three successive wins.

Milan goalkeeper Donnarumma is confident his side can be more than a match for Antonio Conte's Inter, who finished second to champions Juventus last term, as they prepare to do battle on Saturday.

"The gap with Inter has narrowed. They have strengthened but our club has also done well in the transfer market," the Italy international told Sky Sport Italia.

"The coach has done a great job day by day, he is helping us a lot. We can't wait.

"They are a great team with a great coach, they have everything to do very well this year, they are strong and organised.

"We are a young team but we are aware of our potential and we can do well .We are not afraid. We are just focused on what we can do well. 

"I am optimistic and convinced that we will play a great match."

The return of Ibrahimovic - who has represented both teams in this fixture during his career - is a boost to Milan, with the Swede available again after overcoming coronavirus.

For Donnarumma, the talismanic striker is pivotal in aiding the development of Pioli's young squad, particularly as he knows what it takes to be successful in the Derby della Madonnina.

"We all wanted him to be part of the match and that is the case. With Ibra on the pitch, Inter are less scary," the 21-year-old keeper - who started for his country in the recent Nations League games with Poland and Italy - said.

"He is excited for the derby and will help us. Doing well in the derby would give us a lot of strength in terms of the championship, we are still at the beginning but it can give us strength.

"We are a young group that can grow a lot, but we are also showing in the present that we can do good things."