Montella: Chievo was the spark, against Juventus I want the fire
AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella says the Rossoneri's league position will not become a concern unless it is not improved by Christmas.
Vincenzo Montella issued a rallying call to his AC Milan players, saying: "In Verona there was a spark, against Juventus I want to see the real fire."
The Rossoneri welcome the champions to San Siro on Saturday, having snapped a four-game winless run with a 4-1 triumph at Chievo on Wednesday, easing some of the mounting speculation that had suggested Montella could lose his job.
Despite a near €200million overhaul of the playing squad, Milan are eighth, 12 points adrift of table-topping Napoli and nine behind Massimiliano Allegri's Juve.
Milan have lost to Lazio (4th), Sampdoria (6th), Roma (5th) and Inter (2nd) already this term, but Montella hopes they will finally prove their big-game credentials against the Bianconeri.
"I see a more courageous team with a more precise identity," Montella said.
"The performance was there, even in the last negative period, no one got on top of us.
"The negative period has increased our hunger. I see a team that has quality and is growing.
"We do not have to be satisfied. In Verona there was a fuse, tomorrow against Juventus I want to see the real fire."
Just 10 games into the campaign, Milan's expected title challenge already looks to have fizzled out and the race for Champions League spots is fierce, but Montella is paying no attention to his side's place in the table.
"I still do not look at it," he said. "I hope to start looking at Christmas."
Leonardo Bonucci will not face his former employers thanks to a suspension, while Montella must also make do without the injured Giacomo Bonaventura.