Cristian Brocchi's impact on AC Milan may not be evident in Sunday's visit to Sampdoria, but Christian Abbiati is confident his long-time friend will ultimately make his mark.
After Sinisa Mihajlovic was sacked on Tuesday, Brocchi was promoted from the role of Under-19s coach until the end of the season and he takes charge of a side who are without a win in five Serie A matches.
That run has scuppered long-standing hopes of securing Champions League football, but a Europa League berth is still up for grabs under Brocchi's guidance.
Veteran Abbiati told Milan Channel: "It's 20 years that I've known him now. There's always been a strong bond between us. Brocchi came to Milan in 2001 and for years we shared a room together along with [Gennaro] Gattuso.
"A lot of people came to talk in our room and went away uplifted. Milan was really the strongest team in the world at the time.
"Cristian puts passion into everything he does, he has so much humility and he was a rock on the pitch.
"The experience will be positive for him, even if it won't be easy. He's someone who takes on any challenge and hopes to win.
"The coach is starting to work on his ideas of the game. It won't be easy to see his ideas on the pitch as soon as Sunday, but I hope they'll come through as soon as possible."
Milan were competitive in each of the five winless matches that preceded Mihajlovic's dismissal after 10 months at the helm, even leading against champions and table toppers Juventus before falling to a 2-1 loss last time out.
Recent history is on their side against this weekend's opponents, though, with Milan having beaten Sampdoria 4-1 in the league and 2-0 in the Coppa Italia already this season, the latter fixture played at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Those results came amid the first of two eight-match winless streaks that have seriously hampered Sampdoria's progress this season.
Vincenzo Montella's men sit 14th, having achieved seventh last term under Mihajlovic, and there is pressure on the former Italy striker to deliver some consolation with a strong finish.
The visitors could face a Milan side deprived of the services of a flu-stricken Luiz Adriano, while Brazilian midfielder Fernando will hope to be given a start by Montella after he came off the bench to score in the 2-0 victory over Udinese on Sunday.
Key Opta Stats:
- Milan are unbeaten against Sampdoria in the last six league meetings between these two sides (W3, D3).
- Sampdoria have lost only one of the last six home league games against Milan (W2, D3).
- Sampdoria have lost only one of their last six league games, while in the previous eight they lost six times.
- Sampdoria have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four Serie A home games – they only kept two clean sheets in the previous 12.
- Milan have gained only two points in their last five league games: their last six game winless run was back in February 2002.