Stefano Pioli sees Milan riding the wave of ‘energy, belief and conviction’ with their 4-0 victory over Lazio, setting up a fascinating Coppa Italia semi-final showdown with Inter.

The Rossoneri dominated this quarter-final from start to finish, Rafael Leao and an Olivier Giroud brace having the score at 3-0 by half-time, then Franck Kessie rounding it off after a Daniel Maldini free kick ricocheted into his path.

The enthusiasm at San Siro was palpable and fans even broke out into a Mexican Wave during the final minutes, as they are looking forward to another Derby della Madonnina.

Coppa Italia | Milan 4-0 Lazio: Leao and Giroud book derby date

The semi-final will be against their city rivals Inter, the only round of the competition to be played over two legs, although Sandro Tonali is suspended for the first leg.

“We made the most of the derby victory to give ourselves even more energy, belief and conviction. The whole atmosphere is very positive, we were focused and in control for the full 90 minutes,” Pioli told Sport Mediaset.

Giroud scored another brace against Inter at the weekend, got two this evening, so curiously all 10 of his goals were scored at San Siro.

“He had started the season very well, but had problems with his back and ankle, so needed time to get back into shape. He is a strong centre-forward, but the whole team did well tonight and we must continue like this.”

We will have another two editions of the Derby della Madonnina this season, as it will be played over two legs in the semi-final.

“These are always special games to prepare and very stimulating, the Coppa Italia is a competition both clubs want to win, so we will try to give our best against opponents we know are very strong.”

Although Inter have a game in hand, the gap at the top of the Serie A table is just one point, so with the Nerazzurri visiting Napoli this weekend, are Milan hoping to leapfrog their rivals?

“We started the week well, it would be good to end it in perfect fashion. However, we must focus on the difficulties of a game against Sampdoria, who are back on track under Marco Giampaolo and certainly improving.

“Our aim is to do better than last season, so we are now on 52 just like last term and have an opportunity to improve on that. We cannot control the results of other teams, so we need to focus only on improving ourselves.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out injured, but spent the entire match on the touchline encouraging his teammates.

“He knows it’s an important time of the season and is suffering because he wants to give his contribution, but he is helping his teammates anyway with his energy and charisma. We hope he returns to the field as soon as possible.

“It is the great team spirit here that is making the difference, aside from the individual quality of our players.”

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