Milan v Sassuolo: Madrid win to inspire hosts
Filippo Inzaghi's Milan stunned Real 4-2 in a friendly in Dubai on Tuesday and will return to league action at home against Sassuolo - the first of three consecutive Serie A fixtures versus teams in the bottom half.
Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo has urged his team to take advantage of their relatively soft return in the Italian top flight, as they look to qualify for the UEFA Champions League after missing out this term.
"The objective is to get back into the Champions League. .. let's hope we can go on a great run of results to get back into Europe," Montolivo said after the win over Real.
Milan could have new signing Alessio Cerci involved at the San Siro with the former Torino winger having completed his long-awaited loan move from Atletico Madrid but coach Inzaghi will not have defenders Daniele Bonera and Philippe Mexes available for selection.
Cerci completed his first full training session under Inzaghi on Saturday, after joining Milan as part of a swap deal that saw Fernando Torres head the other way until the end of the season.
Mexes hurt his knee versus Real and will be out for a month, while Bonera has a thigh injury.
Milan will enter Tuesday's match in seventh on 25 points in Serie A, two adrift of third-placed Lazio.
The top two at the end of the season will qualify directly for the Champions League, while the third team will have to start in the qualifying rounds.
Inzaghi's team will take on Lazio after their games versus Sassuolo, 14th-placed Torino and Atalanta, who are 17th, and a good run of form could set them up to leapfrog the capital club on January 24.
Milan produced two impressive results before Serie A's Christmas break, overcoming fourth-placed Napoli and drawing with second-placed Roma.
By comparison, Sassuolo have not won in three matches.
Eusebio Di Francesco's men have only won two of their eight away games in the Italian top flight this term.