AC Milan great Alessandro Nesta believes the club are benefiting from their emphasis in youth as the Serie A giants look to emerge from Juventus' shadow.
Milan suffered a steady downward spiral after winning the Scudetto in 2010-11, taking a back seat to five-time defending champions Juventus, but with Vincenzo Montella at the helm and a strong core of home-grown talent, the 18-time Serie A winners are dreaming again.
Spearheaded by teenage sensation goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, seen as the heir to Gianluigi Buffon in the Italian national team, 18-year-old midfielder Manuel Locatelli and Chelsea target Alessio Romagnoli, renewed optimism abounds among the Rossoneri.
And Nesta - a pillar of Milan's two-time Champions League winning vintage coached by Carlo Ancelotti - is pleased with what he is seeing at San Siro.
"They started very well. They have changed the manager again but they are doing extremely well," Nesta told Omnisport.
"Unlike recent years when the squad was made of older players, now it is very young. They rely on them."
Milan have shown significant signs of improvement since Montella's appointment in the off-season and sit five points adrift of Juve, having beaten the champions last month.
Milan occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot as the 42-year-old Montella bids to bring European football back to the club for the first time since 2013-14.
"This is a young project with a young manager. I think he is the right man," added Nesta, who is now head coach of North American Soccer League (NASL) side Miami FC.
Milan have the chance to further cement their place in the Serie A's top three with a win over city rivals Inter in Sunday's Derby della Madonnina.
Inter - ninth in the table and already eight points behind Milan - have endured a turbulent campaign so far, headlined by the sacking of Frank de Boer after just 85 days in charge.
De Boer has since been replaced by former Lazio boss Stefano Pioli, a situation lamented by Nesta, who feels club boards should start taking responsibility.
"In Italy there is no patience. You are already questioned after a week," said the 40-year-old, who is confident Milan will win their ninth match of the season.
"The pressure is cracking and often they sack managers to conceal the board's mistakes. This is my opinion."
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