Chievo coach Eugenio Corini will always hold Genoa coach Luigi Delneri in the highest of esteem, despite trying to beat his former mentor at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris tomorrow.
Rossoblu coach Luigi Delneri spent the most successful four years of his coaching career with Chievo, where he had Corini as an inspirational captain.
He led Chievo into Serie A in 2000 at the end of his first season in charge of the Flying Donkeys and then took them into the UEFA Cup and two further top-10 finishes before leaving in 2004 to take charge of Porto.
Corini has not forgotten his achievements, even though he now has to focus on beating his side as he tries to emulate his former boss.
``The affection I have for him will remain with me forever,'' said Corini in the Gazzetta dello Sport.
``I like him a lot. He is a maestro of football and I have picked up plenty of tips from him.
``He was a trend-setter with new ideas and a different way of developing an attacking football. My ideas are based on his foundations.
``He was not just a coach for us, but a motivator, a father and a friend.''
That friendship will be put to one side for 90 minutes tomorrow as Chievo look to separate themselves from Genoa in the league table and move away from the danger zone.
``Our next four games before the winter break are going to be fundamental,'' he said. ``It's worth even more against Genoa because they are direct rivals for relegation.
``What we do between now and Christmas can be very useful to us.''
Delneri comes into his third game in a row against a former club buoyed by a 1-0 victory over Atalanta, a win which ended a sequence of five straight defeats since he took over from Luigi De Canio.
He previously lost to Sampdoria 3-1 in the city derby.