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Fading Inter Milan face surging Milan in derby

Two teams travelling in opposite directions in Serie A will meet on Sunday in the latest Milan derby.

AC Milan, led by the perpetually angry Gennaro Gattuso, are unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions and are on the way up.

Heading downwards, meanwhile, are neighbours Inter Milan who, under the increasingly perplexed Luciano Spalletti, have won only twice in the same number of games in what has been

a remarkable change in fortunes.

But, as they go into Sunday's match, that gap is down to seven.

Milan, who at the worst point in their slump sunk to 11th place, are up to seventh and still climbing while Inter have dropped to fourth, 18 points behind leaders Napoli with any title pretensions having long since evaporated.

Gattuso is credited with restoring Milan's self-belief which got another boost on Wednesday when they beat Lazio on penalties to reach the Coppa Italia final after grinding out a 0-0 draw over two legs of the semi-final.

While Gattuso tries to explain his success, his opposite number Spalletti has been searching for the reasons behind Inter's slump.

One possibility is the drop in form of leading scorer Mauro Icardi who scored the last of his 18 league goals this season nearly two months ago and recently missed three games with a muscle injury.

Spalletti has also blamed the high expectations which were created by Inter's flying start to the season and said rumours about possible new signings during the January transfer window may have unsettled his team.

Inter Milan forward Antonio Candreva said the derby tended to throw the form book out of the window in any case and ridiculed suggestions of tension among the players.

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