Maurizio Sarri is determined to get the best out of Gonzalo Higuain, even if it means showing the Juventus forward some tough love.
Higuain, 32, has scored six goals in 26 Serie A appearances for Juve this term, most recently netting in a 4-0 win over Lecce in June.
The former Real Madrid striker, who has also worked under Sarri at Napoli and Chelsea, came off the bench against Torino and Genoa, having last started a game in March prior to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.
Ahead of Wednesday's (AEST) clash with Milan, another of Higuain's former clubs, Sarri has admitted he sometimes has to take an aggressive approach to get the best out of Higuain.
"I always read that I fight with everyone, when actually the only person I fight with is Higuain," Sarri said.
"I don't know why that is, but it's always been the case. Maybe it's because he needs a rather aggressive counterpoint to bring out the best in him.
"Mentally he's fine but physically I don't know how much he can take because he's been on and off lately.
"He needs pampering one day and beating against a wall the next! When he's feeling down, he needs caring for.
"When he's on a high, he must be brought down a peg because he can get too carried away."
Milan handed Juve a huge boost in their title bid by beating Lazio last time out, opening up a seven-point gap at the top of Serie A, but Sarri is not expecting any more favours from the Rossoneri.
"Tomorrow's a difficult game for us," Sarri said. "Milan are in great physical and mental condition and are playing at high levels.
"At a time like this, the mental aspect is very delicate and mistakes are only around the corner. The lads know it's going to be a tough month, so they can't lose focus.
"Our lead at the top shouldn't make us relax. We're at a time when games are all difficult and messing one up is extremely easy."