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Two from Stephan El Shaarawy and one from Kevin-Prince Boateng gave Milan a come-from-behind 3-1 win against Catania.
Massimiliano Allegri made just one change from the side that beat Juventus last weekend, as they travelled to Sicily looking to gain the three points that would move them into seventh place.
The Rossoneri brought Francesco Acerbi in for Mario Yepes at centre-back, but it was Kevin-Prince Boateng who almost opened the scoring inside six minutes – a long-range effort from the Ghana international forced Mariano Andujar into a smart save.
That early pressure though, counted for little as the Elefanti went ahead on 11 minutes. A corner from Francesco Lodi found Nicola Legrottaglie, who forced a free header home.
The away side maintained their dominance of possession, but just couldn't create any clear goalscoring opportunities.
And they almost paid for that on the stroke of half time, as Lodi's free kick was tipped away by Marco Amelia.
After the break however, the Rolando Maran’s side were left to regret those missed chances as they were reduced to 10-men – Pablo Barrientos was given a second yellow card for a foolish kick on Antonio Nocerino – and then El Shaarawy bagged an equaliser with a strike into the roof of the net.
Just three minutes later, and Milan had completed the turn around. Boateng hit a sensational shot from outside the area, which curled into the bottom right-hand corner.
The Diavolo maintained their pressure and continued to push for a third, but Robinho missed a clear open goal with 10 minutes remaining.
It didn't look to be forthcoming as Boateng was given a straight red card in the last minute, but just before the final whistle, El Shaarawy again popped up with a shot across goal to make it 3-1.
AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that tomorrow's match with Catania will be more important than last weekend's win over Juventus.
The Rossoneri Coach believes that Friday's match in Sicily will be 'fundamental' to their campaign, as they look to kick on after their poor start to the season.
“This game will be much more important than the match against Juventus,” he told a Press conference. “This is a match of fundamental importance to our League position.
“Catania are a point above us, and we want to follow up on our win over Juve.
“We now have four big matches coming up in the League, Champions League and Coppa Italia.”
He also commented on the fitness of some key players ahead of the trip to Stadio Angelo Massamino.
“Christian Abbiati has back problems and will only return when he feels better,” the 45-year-old continued. “Philippe Mexes will play though, alongside Mattia De Sciglio and Kevin Constant – I'm yet to decide who will be the other centre-back.
“Pato is training well and should be fit enough to play.”
Maran confident of avenging derby loss 29.11 ||webmaster
Stephan El Shaarawy insists Milan “believe we can qualify for the Champions League” after their victory over leaders Juventus.
The Rossoneri climbed to ninth place with that result, though they are still 10 points adrift of that third qualifying spot.
“We believe we can qualify for the Champions League. There’s a long season ahead of us and plenty of time to catch up,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“Against Juve we earned an important victory with a performance of great substance, focus and effort. It was our best game of the season so far.
“It was also important for our growth as a team and we must continue like this in order to climb back up the table.
“This is why the game with Catania is going to be crucial for our position in the standings and a sense of consistency. We must put in a great performance.”
El Shaarawy only just turned 20, but is Serie A Capocannoniere so far with 10 goals to his name.
“I am pleased to receive so many compliments and all I can do is try to keep it up. I even heard comparisons to Samuel Eto’o, who is such a great champion. Like him I try to sacrifice myself for the team and often even work as a full-back to help out."
The Little Pharaoh was also asked what he'd be willing to do if Milan won the Scudetto. "I'd cut my hair off!"
Marco Amelia claims he and Christian Abbiati provide Milan with “the best pair of goalkeepers in Italy.”
The second choice shot-stopper was a last-minute replacement against Juventus when Abbiati pulled out during the warm-up with back pain, but contributed to the 1-0 victory.
“It isn’t easy having to go into a game like Milan-Juventus with only a few minutes of warning, but fortunately I have a strong personality and the experience to face delicate situations like this,” Amelia told Milan Channel.
“In my view, today Abbiati and I are the best pair of goalkeepers in Italy. Maybe only Juventus with Gigi Buffon and Marco Storari have two figures of the same level as Milan.
“There is also hope for the future, as Gabriel is an excellent goalkeeper for one so young. Right now he is shut out by me and Abbiati, but I am sure he’ll have a great future ahead of him.
“Juve created a lot of play down the flanks in the second half, so I tried to come off my line as much as possible to help my teammates.
“The psychological state of the squad has changed recently and when we feel like that, we can play better and with more confidence.
“At the start of the season there were so many changes, but us ‘old boys’ who stayed behind worked to instil the Milan spirit in the new players.
“I’m glad to say the game with Juventus was the first time this season we’ve really felt San Siro fired up for us. We players need to feel the support of the fans at this moment to get back to the level of recent years.”
Wenger: AC Milan will return to the top 27.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan defender Luca Antonini has claimed that the inspirational words of Silvio Berlusconi last week gave the motivation required to beat Juventus.
The Rossoneri claimed a 1-0 win over Antonio Conte's side on Sunday, and the 30-year-old is certain that the speech made by the President at the training ground was a factor in them getting three points.
“Berlusconi's words were important for our performance,” he told reporters at Milan Store today. “He came to Milanello and gave us the stimulation needed.”
He also commented on the team's performance against the Bianconeri and his recovery from injury that has kept him out since the beginning of November.
“It was certainly not easy to get a result against Juventus,” he said. “They had come from a good win versus Chelsea, but my teammates did a fantastic job.
“I love playing for this club and hope to return soon.”
Exit of duo favoured El Shaarawy 26.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi insists that Massimiliano Allegri will remain as boss despite his admiration for Pep Guardiola.
The President suggested at the weekend that his club would try to tempt the Spaniard at the end of the season, but he has today shown faith in his current tactician.
“Guardiola gave life to a Barcelona team that played the best football of recent years,” the former Italian Prime Minister told Canale 5 on Monday.
“I think that everyone would like Guardiola, but we have an excellent relationship with Allegri and that will continue.
“There has always been a good rapport with Allegri on a personal level. There have been rumours and stories which don’t correspond with the truth.
“There have been three sides in history who have played the best football. The Ajax of Cruyff, the Milan of the three Dutchmen and his Barcelona. But we will continue with our Coach.”
Milan have had their struggles so far this season, but they are moving up the table after a 1-0 win over Juventus on Sunday.
“It seems as if we have cancelled out our start to the season. That beginning was predictable because after 26 years, our best players, because of their age, left.
“Now Milan have to focus on youngsters and we need to give them time to affirm themselves. We have to work like that and I think we already have an attack that will ignite with Alexandre Pato, when he returns, Stephan El Shaarawy and Bojan Krkic.”
Berlusconi also insisted that the club were right to keep Paris Saint-Germain target Alexandre Pato last January, who could have been replaced by Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.
“I have no regrets that I didn’t sell him. I personally have never liked Tevez and, anyway, we want to start a new cycle with youngsters.”
On reports suggesting that Wesley Sneijder, frozen out of the Inter squad, could move to the Rossoneri, Berlusconi said: “There is no Milan option.”
Montolivo honoured to captain AC Milan 26.11 ||webmaster
Marco Van Basten is in the stands for Milan-Juventus and confirms he “was approached two years ago” to take the Rossoneri bench.
The Dutch legend is one of the greatest players ever to wear the Rossoneri jersey and has periodically been linked with the job.
“I never turned down the Milan bench. I spoke two years ago with director Ariedo Braida, but it was only part of exploratory talks and nothing serious,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I had to have ankle surgery and then nothing more came of it. Besides, I do not feel ready to be the Milan Coach.
“I am in charge of Heerenveen and want more time to improve myself. We’ll see in the future. The work of a Coach is different to that of a player, as he has to make players understand how to work together and it takes time to become a good manager.”
Van Basten was asked what he thought of the summer sales that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva exit San Siro.
“It’s normal to have difficulties when players like that leave, so their position in mid-table is only to be expected.”
Today is the 25th anniversary of the game where Van Basten scored four goals against Goteborg.
“It was a wonderful night for me. I had also netted one earlier, but that was disallowed and I ended up getting another four. I have to thank all the players who allowed me to score these goals.”
Serie A: AC Milan 1:0 Juventus - match report 25.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan doomed Juventus to their second defeat of the season, but earned it with an extremely controversial Robinho penalty. The Bianconeri dominated possession at San Siro, though struggled to create clear-cut chances.
This was a Scudetto showdown nine months ago, ending 1-1 with Sulley Muntari’s ‘phantom goal’ not seen by officials. Going into this game, the Rossoneri were in 13th place and 17 points adrift of leaders Juventus.
They were also without Massimo Ambrosini, Daniele Bonera, Alexandre Pato, Luca Antonini, Muntari and Djamel Mesbah, so Robinho returned to the trident. Giorgio Chiellini didn’t make the trip due to a calf strain and was replaced by Martin Caceres, but Leonardo Bonucci recovered from a stomach bug and Andrea Pirlo’s ban expired. Mauricio Isla was preferred to Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Christian Abbiati pulled out in the warm-up with back pain, so Marco Amelia was a last-minute replacement and the captain’s armband given to Riccardo Montolivo. President Silvio Berlusconi and former Milan legend Marco Van Basten were in the stands.
Mattia De Sciglio’s angled drive whistled just wide, then Gigi Buffon used his feet to parry Kevin-Prince Boateng’s strike at the near post from a Robinho assist.
A deflected Fabio Quagliarella effort was easily held by Amelia and the crowd were irritated when Robinho went down under a Pirlo challenge and the referee waved play on. El Shaarawy’s finish on the counter was weak and into Buffon’s arms.
The referee pointed to the spot on the half-hour when Isla stuck out an arm when blocking Antonio Nocerino’s header, though replays suggest the ball actually hit him on the ribs. Robinho stepped up and Buffon did get his hand to it, but the power took it through anyway at the near bottom corner for the Brazilian’s first goal of the season.
Another Boateng counter was wasted when his shot was deflected meekly into Buffon’s grasp, but Juve struggled to muster much of a reaction. Bonucci was booked for tripping El Shaarawy on a rapid counter just before the break, but Montolivo’s free kick went through the wall and into Buffon’s hands.
Simone Padoin was the surprising replacement for a disappointing Isla, leaving Lichtsteiner on the bench. Sebastian Giovinco then came on for Quagliarella after a Pirlo free kick was deflected out off the wall, but the Neapolitan was evidently not happy and muttered something to Angelo Alessio while covering his mouth with his jacket.
On 61 minutes Amelia punched away a cross and Pirlo put it back in for Mirko Vucinic’s deflected shot. Giovinco went for an audacious overhead kick from 12 yards on Padoin’s cross, but shinned it off target.
Juve were pouring forward now with Milan concentrating on the counter, where Montolivo had a shot charged down in the box and Nocerino blasted over the bar.
Philippe Mexes went off with a recurrence of his ankle injury and Paul Pogba was Juve’s final substitution. El Shaarawy’s roll across for Giampaolo Pazzini was put out for a corner by Bonucci.
The home fans unveiled a banner for Pato that read: ‘Anyone with Milan in their heart does not call their agent.’ It was a reference to his comment that he wanted to play more regularly and would talk with his representatives.
Mario Yepes got his head to a corner, but Buffon had it under control. Moments later Giovinco pounced on a defensive error and pulled back for Vucinic, whose shot was cleared off the line by Kevin Constant from seven yards.
Vucinic tried with an angled drive from distance that bounced in front of Amelia and the goalkeeper palmed it round the post. A clearance to the edge of the box saw Marchisio’s effort deflected out for a corner, as Juventus continued to push without creating many clear-cut chances.
Giovinco was offside on 89 minutes, much to Amelia’s relief as the goalkeeper then chopped him down.
Milan: Amelia; De Sciglio, Mexes (Zapata 72), Yepes, Constant; Montolivo, De Jong, Nocerino; Robinho (Pazzini 65), Boateng (Flamini 84), El Shaarawy
Assistant manager Mauro Tassotti warns Milan “need a perfect performance” to get the better of Juventus tonight.
“We need a perfect performance. This is a difficult game, as Juventus are tough to beat and it isn’t easy to get a result against them,” Tassotti told Milan Channel.
“They are particularly strong in terms of tempo and possession. Tonight we cannot afford to throw the ball away.
“We have prepared as best as possible and will try to battle our way to a result. Qualifying for the next phase of the Champions League a round early has boosted our self-esteem, so now we can focus on tonight’s game.”
Marco Van Basten is in the stands for this big game after he was invited by President Silvio Berlusconi.
“It’ll be a little strange seeing Van Basten here and I’m sure it’ll be a very special moment for the San Siro fans.”
Moggi: 'Referee chosen to damage Juventus' 25.11 ||webmaster
Luciano Moggi has stirred up controversy by suggesting referee Nicola Rizzoli was assigned to tonight’s game with Milan in order to ‘damage’ Juventus.
“The designator, unsure of how else to complicate his life and that of others, chooses referee Rizzoli for Milan-Juve without taking into consideration what happened in the past,” wrote former Juve director general Moggi in Libero newspaper.
“Rizzoli, used as a goal-line judge, caused all sorts of trouble and always in favour of Juve. Don’t forget the Italian Super Cup with Napoli, Catania-Juventus and Juve-Inter – all very recent games.
“The first to be embarrassed by this situation will be Rizzoli, as stepping on to the field with the ‘aura of Juventus influence’ can prompt him to make opposite decisions compared to beforehand out of a sense of uncertainty.
“Some are even suggesting Rizzoli was sent on purpose to damage Juve. I don’t want to believe such a thing, but we do have to ask ourselves how this sport works to understand why every week there is some controversy to calm down...”
This will be Rizzoli’s fourth time officiating a match between Milan and Juventus. So far his record is two Bianconeri victories and one for the Rossoneri, although all were played in Turin.
Moggi was the Juventus director general, but resigned in 2006 when the Calciopoli scandal broke, as he was found to have called the refereeing designator to influence the choice of officials assigned to their games.
Bojan Krkic believes Milan can get the better of Juventus this evening. “Our self-confidence has improved, so beating the Bianconeri would be a huge boost.”
The Spaniard is one of the candidates to start in attack tonight, challenging with Robinho, Giampaolo Pazzini, Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
“We fought back to draw with Napoli and qualified for the next phase of the Champions League, so our self-confidence has improved,” Bojan told the Corriere dello Sport.
“This is a great opportunity for us. It’s true that every game is a chance to climb the table, but beating the Bianconeri would be a huge boost. Juve are strong as a team unit and as individuals, but we have champions too.
“We are in front of our fans and above all we are Milan. We’ve got to work hard, but know that we can win this. We have to focus on maintaining possession. It all depends on us.”
The Rossoneri have been stuttering this season and remain in 12th place, a good 17 points behind Juve. Click here for a match preview.
“It isn’t easy to go through a situation like this,” continued Bojan. “When you lack certainty, every single setback knocks down your confidence. We need belief and you can tell immediately when a team believes in what it’s doing.
“I am fairly satisfied with my season so far. I could score more goals, but I have always thought a striker should be judged on more than just how many goals he gets. For example, I am asked to move off the ball and help the other strikers to run into space.
“I am not really a centre-forward fox in the box who can challenge physically with Leonardo Bonucci.”
Berlusconi on Pato, Guardiola and Van Basten 25.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi touched on many subjects during his visit, including Pep Guardiola, Marco Van Basten and Alexandre Pato.
The patron flew in with his private helicopter to the training ground in order to motivate the squad ahead of Sunday’s game with Juventus.
He commented on Pato’s demands to play more regularly or seek a transfer elsewhere in January.
“It is right to limit his appearances until he achieves full fitness, but we guarantee he has the utmost respect, appreciation, affection and warmth at Milan,” replied Berlusconi on Milan Channel.
“Pato is and was our greatest jewel at age 22 with the possibility of a decade in front of him as Milan’s club symbol.
“His football and skills are not under question, but there were a series of many – too many – injuries. Now he has emerged from this negative streak, but still needs to recover full fitness and faith in himself. He shouldn’t be exposed to intense participation in the games when he is still in this condition. If he picked up another injury, his confidence would hit rock bottom.
“Pato is a problem because all these incidents have left people with baited breath whenever he takes to the field. I imagine he too is wondering whether his body will hold up. Pato is absolutely not on the market. He is coming off a series of bad injuries and has not proved he is fully recovered yet.”
Berlusconi was asked whether there will be new signings in January, especially as Milan have qualified for the Champions League knockouts.
“We will try to keep our books in order, as with this economic crisis in Europe we really cannot afford outlandish expenditures. The idea is to reconstruct a young team within a time-period of no less than three years that can lead to a new era of success. Don’t forget the team of champions was built with one big signing per year.”
President Berlusconi confirmed the long-standing rumours that Milan are trying to sign ex-Barcelona manager Guardiola for next season as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri.
“We spoke about Guardiola to Allegri too. Faced with a possibility like this, everyone puts the effort in. We know there are some English clubs who are determined to make him theirs, but we are in the running. We have a clear idea of the situation, as it’ll be difficult to get him.”
Earlier today, Berlusconi had told journalists that Manchester City were “in pole position” for Guardiola.
Another of the options for the Rossoneri bench is Van Basten, who will be in the stands for tomorrow night’s Milan-Juventus match.
“Tomorrow I will gladly hug Marco again. We have always kept in touch and I always send him birthday greetings. We have often met up and over the years we had also thought about him as our Coach.
“As for Juve, in football we must forget about problems in the past, focusing only on the present and the future. In order to have a great Milan in Italy, Europe and the World, we must begin again from youth. For example, Stephan El Shaarawy is a breath of fresh air.”
Chiellini out of AC Milan - Juventus 24.11 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri admits he’ll change for Sunday night’s Milan-Juventus, talk of Alexandre Pato’s exit “is premature” and competition from Pep Guardiola is “not my problem.”
The Rossoneri were visited for the second Friday in a row by President Silvio Berlusconi, who landed at the training ground in his personal helicopter to motivate the squad. However, Berlusconi also stated Milan are battling Manchester City to sign Guardiola next season.
“President Berlusconi is very charismatic and uses the right words for every individual. A positive result would help to cancel out some of the negative things,” said Allegri in his Press conference.
“Guardiola? That’s not my problem. I have to focus on tomorrow’s game. I do not want to, nor can I, decide who will be the Milan Coach next year. It’s not up to me.”
Among those negatives is the Pato ‘problem’ after the striker said he’ll talk to his agent about a move so he can play more regularly.
“The lad was just blowing off steam in the heat of the moment. He needs to have the patience to understand that it takes time to get back to the player he was. He cannot resolve everything straight away.
“It is premature to talk about Pato’s exit from Milan. We have to concentrate on Serie A, seeing as we have qualified for the Champions League knockouts.”
It’s not just any Serie A game on Sunday evening, as leaders Juventus visit San Siro for a tense showdown.
“It is possible there will be a few changes compared the most recent games. This match is going to feel like it lasts 100 minutes, so some figures are tired. I am thinking about some changes in midfield and will evaluate what is the right move tomorrow morning. I hope it goes well.
“Tomorrow we need a perfect performance in every area, even if of course perfection does not exist in football...
“Will we man-mark Andrea Pirlo? No, we didn’t do that last season and won’t tomorrow either. Of course, we will keep a special eye on him.”
The tension is still dragging on from last term when Sulley Muntari’s ‘phantom goal’ crossed the line in their 1-1 draw, unseen by the officials.
“There has been enough talk about this all over the world. It would be pointless discussing it again now. At least I can tell the story to my grandchildren,” smiled Allegri.
“I don’t think Antonio Conte’s ban has damaged Juve, as they have 32 points and put in a great performance against Chelsea. It’s more of a trauma for him not being on the bench than it is the team.”
Philippe Mexes and Kevin Constant have recovered from knocks picked up against Anderlecht, but Pato is out along with Luca Antonini, Massimo Ambrosini, Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera, Sulley Muntari, Djamel Mesbah and Didac Vila.
“It is possible Robinho will start among the front three, yes. It’s a shame we are not higher up the table going into this game, but we have time to recover. A great performance would bring enthusiasm back to the fans and help self-confidence grow in the team.
“What has changed from the last Milan-Juventus? Well, 13 players have gone, but there’s no point talking about them now. I must work with the ones we have.”
AC Milan squad for Juventus: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Acerbi, De Sciglio, Mexes, Yepes, Zapata, Boateng, Constant, De Jong, Emanuelson, Flamini, Montolivo, Nocerino, Strasser, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Pazzini, Robinho.
Berlusconi: 'AC Milan vs. Man City for Guardiola' 24.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi visited the team ahead of the Juventus match and confirmed “we will try to sign Pep Guardiola, but Manchester City are in pole position.”
The patron and former Italian Prime Minister landed in his helicopter at the Milanello training ground for the second Friday in a row, believing his motivational speaking had spurred the team on to their results against Napoli and Anderlecht.
Tomorrow evening the Rossoneri welcome Juventus and Berlusconi hopes to again get the best out of his squad.
However, he hit the headlines with a statement that will raise eyebrows in Italy, England and Spain.
“There are several English clubs who want Guardiola, in particular Manchester City, as they are in pole position because some of their directors know him well.
“We will try to sign him, but it’s going to be tough.”
Berlusconi’s comment suggests that not only are Milan already looking to the post-Massimiliano Allegri era, but also that City are planning to replace Roberto Mancini after their Champions League exit.
Chelsea have also been heavily linked with a move for Guardiola, having appointed Rafa Benitez as interim manager to replace Roberto Di Matteo this week.
Berlusconi was also asked about reports of an exchange between Mario Balotelli and Alexandre Pato.
“I don’t like exchanges.”
El Shaarawy: 'Beating Juventus? Priceless' 24.11 ||webmaster
There’s no stopping Stephan El Shaarawy at the moment and “beating Juventus would be priceless,” said the Little Pharaoh who still lives with his parents.
The 20-year-old is Capocannoniere and has scored 16 goals in all competition this season, winning a bet he made with teammate Massimo Ambrosini.
“I haven’t decided where I’ll take my vacation that Ambrosini will pay for, but it’ll certainly be somewhere warm by the sea,” he told the Corriere della Sera.
“I have to thank Coach Massimiliano Allegri, who had a fundamental part in my growth and was impeccable in my first season, knowing exactly when it was best to use me.
“What would I have done if Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano had remained? I cannot know, but the fact is with their departure two places opened up at Milan. I haven’t heard from Ibra since he left.”
He may only be a young man, but the Little Pharaoh is not feeling the pressure ahead of tomorrow’s Milan-Juventus match.
“Tomorrow is a super-important game for the table, but also for our growth as a team. A victory would be priceless, but we need to give 150 per cent to achieve that. To win and score under the Curva Sud would be fantastic. The Juve player I admire the most is Gigi Buffon, who is great both on and off the field.
“Responsibility motivates me and I do not feel pressure. My teammates, the club and fans all have faith in me. It’s all happening so quickly and everything a 20-year-old dreams of. It’s very gratifying especially for my parents, who made so many sacrifices to help me.
“My mother lives with me in Milan, while my father travels to and from Savona. My parents take care of my money too. I don't go out clubbing and I don't have a girlfriend, as I just want to focus on football right now.
“I am tied to my father’s land and am happy to visit relatives in Egypt, but I feel Italian and was never remotely tempted when Egypt asked me to play for them. My dream is to take part in the 2014 World Cup and hopefully win it.”
Montolivo: 'AC Milan hit rock bottom' 24.11 ||webmaster
Riccardo Montolivo feels Milan will learn after they “hit rock bottom” and become stronger for it against Juventus tomorrow evening.
“Let’s just say when we hit rock bottom, it did us good,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We were able to overcome the difficulties together and in situations like this a group of players emerges stronger at the end.
“Was the side suffering after so many leadership figures left? Of course you’re going to miss characters like that, but the gap must be filled. Have I filled it? It’s too early to say. I am at the disposal of the Coach and the team. I think a leader should set the example more than order people about.”
President Silvio Berlusconi visited the training ground last week and noted Montolivo reminded him of Andrea Pirlo.
“I am not worried by the head-to-head with Pirlo, because we are different players. He is more of a director of operations, while I also try to win back possession. Andrea is untouchable for all he did at Milan, so I won’t even worry about comparisons with him.”
The Rossoneri have a new superstar in their midst, as Stephan El Shaarawy is Capocannoniere despite turning 20 this month.
“Nobody expected such a strong season, not even him, but I have always liked El Shaarawy. He has pace and a real ability to split defences. He also shoots with power and precision.”
On the other hand, Alexandre Pato declared this week he wants to leave Milan in order to play more regularly.
“It is an unusual situation,” mused Montolivo. “You need patience with him, but it’s worth the wait. He is an amazing player and I have never trained with one so talented. It’d be a shame if he left.”
Ancelotti: 'PSG don't need Pato' 24.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has admitted that this season has been 'a difficult one' for the club.
The former Ghana international has conceded that the campaign so far has been one of challenges, but believes that they can battle through the bad results that have seen them sit in 12th place in Serie A.
“It has been a difficult season,” he told Milan Channel. “But we all want to respond with positive results.
“I feel at home here in Milan, and have a really good relationship with the Coaches and my teammates.”
He also commented on the words of wisdom Silvio Berlussconi gave the squad at Milan's training ground last week.
“He is a great person with a strong personality. We all spoke with him last week, and gave us a lot of confidence.”
Van Basten 'not ready' to coach AC Milan 24.11 ||webmaster
Legendary Milan striker Marco Van Basten has admitted that he is not ready to coach the Rossoneri, but has not ruled it out in the future.
The 48-year-old is currently boss of Heerenveen in the Netherlands, and has conceded that he does not require the necessary experience to manage at San Siro.
“I am not ready yet to coach Milan,” he told Sport Mediaset. “I still need a little more experience before I train in Italy.
“For now I'd prefer to stay in the Netherlands. When I get that experience, maybe then I can change country.”
Current Diavolo boss Massimiliano Allegri has come under constant criticism over the past few months, following the club's disastrous start to the season, with his job being linked with a plethora of other tacticians.
Barzagli: AC Milan not just El Shaarawy 24.11 ||webmaster
Philippe Mexes admits his wonder-strike was “a bit lucky, as I just gave it a go” when scoring with an overhead kick from outside the area.
It was similar to the goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic recently netted for Sweden against England.
“Nothing went through my mind. I gave it a go, it went well, but I will admit it was a bit lucky. Ibra is a phenomenon, I just gave it a go!” Mexes told Mediaset.
“For a defender to score a goal like that is unusual and I’d never got one like that before. My teammates asked if I was trying to provide a cross and got it wrong!
“I dedicate it to my family who have always supported me and my children, as it isn’t easy for them to stay home with their Dad always travelling around.”
Mexes did not finish the game against Anderlecht, as he limped off in the final stages with a sprained knee.
“At the time my knee was very sore for five minutes, as I got my studs caught in the turf and couldn’t even extend it. I was limping and we conceded the goal while they were preparing the substitution. I think we wouldn’t have conceded it if someone had been 100 per cent fit.
“We must keep our feet on the ground, as it was tough and we must continue like this. Qualification was crucial.”
Champions League: Anderlecht 1:3 AC Milan - goals/highlights 21.11 ||webmaster
Galliani: 'Mexes will go viral!' 21.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan general manager Adriano Galliani reveals why he’ll always support Max Allegri and hopes Philippe Mexes’ overhead kick can go viral.
“My heart held up again! It is not an easy period for the team, the President, for everyone. We had a troubled summer and an iffy autumn,” he said after a 3-1 win over Anderlecht.
Mexes provided the highlight of the evening with a stunning overhead kick from outside the box that resembled Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s strike against England.
“Ibrahimovic scored that goal in a friendly, but this one was official and we hope it’ll go round the world just like Ibra’s did.
“If Leo Messi had scored that, every news channel around the world would show it and he’d have been made a saint tonight!
“I want to reassure fans that he has a bit of a knee problem, but nothing serious.”
Galliani is a notoriously tense presence in the stands and admits he didn’t see three of the evening’s four goals in Brussels.
“I didn’t see the opening goal and it’s the first time it has happened. I was talking to the cycling legend Eddy Merckx, there was a queue of people and I couldn’t get back to my seat in time. I didn’t see Pato’s goal either, as I was already hiding in the locker room. Basically I didn’t see anything!
“To be honest, I didn’t see the Anderlecht goal, as whenever they put a dangerous cross in, I turn away and get my son to give me commentary!”
The first half was a terrible performance and the Rossoneri did not have a single shot on goal, but Galliani would not criticise Allegri in public.
“We are in the knockouts and that is the important thing. How are we playing? I am the general manager and therefore I say we are playing very well. In private I might say things differently!
“I am ideologically against the idea of changing a Coach mid-season. I defended Allegri the way I did every other tactician. It has to be a catastrophe of truly Biblical proportions for us to do that, because the replacement is hardly ever going to do a better job.”
Massimiliano Allegri notes Milan “have achieved our first target of the season,” but admits he couldn’t believe Philippe Mexes had scored that goal.
The Rossoneri needed a victory in Belgium to ensure qualification for the knockouts in second place behind Malaga and got it with a 3-1 result over Anderlecht.
“Champions League games are never easy. We knew Zenit’s result, so winning tonight was very important to secure qualification,” Allegri told Mediaset.
“We have achieved our first target of the season and the lads fully deserved it. We suffered at times and got the final ball wrong at times, but only really risked on the counter-attack and on set plays.
“We should’ve done better in defence after they went down to 10 men, as they were throwing crosses in there and hoping for the best.
“We had started well, then I think we were too hasty and tried too many long balls rather than making the right decisions in attack. We knew there was space behind their four defenders, but failed to find it in the first half.”
Mexes scored an incredible over-head kick from outside the penalty area, reminiscent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal against England in a recent friendly.
“I saw this extraordinary goal and the ball looping into the air. At the time I didn’t believe he’d scored, as it seemed impossible that would go in! He has pain in his knee and went off, so we’ll see what the tests say.
“Especially after going 2-0 up, we wasted some chances to add a third and almost ground to a halt out of fear of failing to take home the result. That can happen with a squad that is so young and lacking in European experience.”
Stephan El Shaarawy scored again and set up Alexandre Pato for the third.
“His maturity is important and he is more balanced now than he was last season. He is generous and hard-working. He does better on the wing, so we had to adapt the squad a little, using a 4-3-3 with Boateng given the option to come back into the centre a little more. Stephan struggles as part of a classic two-man attack.”
El Shaarawy: 'AC Milan suffered to win' 21.11 ||webmaster
Scorers: Scorers: El Shaarawy 47 (M), Mexes 71 (M), De Sutter 78 (A), Pato 91 (M)
AC Milan are through to the Champions League knock-outs after a 3-1 win away to Anderlecht, which saw Philippe Mexes score a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-style overhead kick!
The 2-2 draw in Russia earlier this evening meant Malaga were mathematically sure of top spot and Zenit joined Anderlecht on four points, but a win would send the Rossoneri through. Luca Antonini, Daniele Bonera, Ignazio Abate and Massimo Ambrosini were injured, but Bojan Krkic and Kevin-Prince Boateng joined Stephan El Shaarawy in attack. The Belgians welcomed back Olivier Deschacht and Milan Jovanovic, while Guillame Gillet shook off a knock to start.
These sides drew 0-0 at San Siro in September for what Massimiliano Allegri said was Milan’s “worst performance of the season.”
Silvio Proto smothered at Bojan’s feet after 35 seconds, but Anderlecht took control of the tempo and on 13 minutes Jovanovic went clear down the left from a Dieudonne’ Mbokani pass and Christian Abbiati parried with his foot.
The move continued and Dennis Praet drilled wide from outside the box. Anderlecht dominated possession in the first half, though chances were few and far between.
Kevin Constant managed to deflect a flicked-on long free kick off the feet of Mbokani at the back post. Boateng wasted a chance when he completely mistimed his header to commit a foul on his marker in the box, then the Ghanaian’s effort was charged down from a corner.
A long Mattia De Sciglio pass was allowed to bounce and Proto bravely rushed out to pluck it off El Shaarawy’s feet.
On 43 minutes El Shaarawy’s inspired through pass sent Bojan clear, but the ex-Barcelona striker lost his footing after riding a tackle and the chance went begging.
Milan took the lead straight after the restart and with their first actual shot on goal. De Sciglio’s long cross was taken by El Shaarawy at the back post with his left foot and he curled across the goalkeeper to the far top corner on the volley with his right. It was the Little Pharaoh’s 16th goal of the season in all competition, including internationals.
El Shaarawy had another attempt charged down soon after, while Proto intercepted a Boateng roll across the face of goal.
Anderlecht had two penalty appeals in the space of five seconds, but the referee waved play on for both as normal collisions in the box. Philippe Mexes’ challenge on Jovanovic was a concern.
Massimo Bruno hit the side-netting from a promising position and Mbokani’s header was wayward. Mario Yepes had forced Proto to parry with his foot from a diving header, but the defender was offside anyway on Antonio Nocerino’s free kick.
Alexandre Pato had been expected to start, but only came on as a substitute for Bojan. The Duck immediately went on the counter-attack and in a two-against-one situation was clearly tripped by Nuytinck. At first the referee had only awarded a free kick, but under advice from his assistants flashed the straight red for wrecking a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
From the resulting free kick, Mexes scored the craziest goal of his career! He chested down the loose ball outside the box and went into an overhead kick that looped over a stunned Proto into the far top corner! It was very similar to the goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored against England in a recent friendly.
However, 10-man Anderlecht got one back when the Milan defence was caught napping and a long cross was nodded on twice until substitute Tom De Sutter prodded in from four yards unmarked.
Mexes sprained his knee and limped off to make way for Cristian Zapata, but the Belgians were pouring forward now and Deschacht ran on to a through ball only to fire wide from a great position.
This left huge gaps at the back and El Shaarawy took advantage. He sprung the offside trap on a cross-field pass and sprinted into the box, drawing out the goalkeeper to roll across for Pato’s tap-in from a couple of yards.
Anderlecht 1-3 Milan
Scorers: El Shaarawy 47 (M), Mexes 71 (M), De Sutter 78 (A), Pato 91 (M)
Anderlecht: Proto; Nuytinck, Gillet, Kouyatè, Deschacht; Kljestan, Biglia; Praet (De Sutter 75), Bruno (Yakovenko 66), Jovanovic (Fernando Canesin 77); Mbokani
AC Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Mexes (Zapata 79), Yepes, Constant (Emanuelson 75); Montolivo, De Jong, Nocerino; Boateng, Bojan (Pato 67), El Shaarawy
Ref: Skomina (SVN)
Sent off: Nuytinck 70 (A)
Champions League: Anderlecht vs. AC Milan - lineups 21.11 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri feels Milan’s trip to Anderlecht “could be Alexandre Pato’s game” and reassures Christian Abbiati, but warns qualification won’t be decided tomorrow.
The Rossoneri are second in Group C, but only one point clear of Anderlecht and two in front of Zenit, so qualification is far from secure.
“It is going to be a very difficult game, just like all the ones we have faced recently. The Champions League is a tough competition, but we will give our all to do well,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“Overall, our performance against Napoli on Saturday was good. There were some individual errors and these things can happen. Tomorrow will be a different match, but the team is in good shape physically.”
The Rossoneri fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point in Naples, but Allegri hopes this isn’t necessarily setting a trend.
“We hope that we won’t have to fight back, as it’d be better to take the lead. Lately we have been falling behind quite a lot and at times the comebacks don’t work. Mind you, at the start of the season we couldn’t even manage comebacks.
“Pato is a player who is important on a European level. This could be his game. Kevin-Prince Boateng had a good performance in terms of intensity and technique on Saturday, which was a good sign for him and for us.
“Robinho provided a stunning pass for the equaliser that only champions know how to do. I still have to decide who starts and what support I can expect from the bench.”
The 2-2 draw with Napoli was also characterised by goalkeeper Abbiati's howler.
“There is no problem with Abbiati. He made a mistake, just like anyone can,” assured Allegri. “The side has never made overall errors, but rather individual mistakes and obviously a game can change with those. The team is in good shape, both physically and psychologically.
“I always said the Champions League group would be balanced and it will be until the end. Tomorrow by the time we play, we’ll already know Zenit’s result against Malaga, but either way I think qualification will be open to the final game.
“Of course I am not satisfied with our points tally in this group, but if we have these results then it means we deserve them. I would’ve preferred to have nine points, but now we have two games and must do well to get through to the next round.”
Milan were fired up last week by a visit from President Silvio Berlusconi, who Allegri thanked for his comments.
“The President’s advice is always important and his visit was wonderful for the whole team. I think that talking to him about football is always a pleasure.”
Mexes feels 'AC Milan confidence' 20.11 ||webmaster
Philippe Mexes praised Anderlecht in a “balanced” Champions League group, but notes Milan’s comeback at Napoli “gave us a lot of confidence.”
The Rossoneri are second in Group C, but just one point ahead of Anderlecht and two in front of Zenit, so their qualification is still up in the air.
“The last time I came here my team won 7-1, but tomorrow that won’t be the case,” said defender Mexes at the start of his Press conference in Belgium.
“This is a very tough game and a decisive one, so we have prepared for it as best we can. It is a Champions League match and we’ll do everything to win, though it is a fixture rich with hidden dangers.
“We will try to keep a clean sheet and hurt our opponents in attack.”
On Saturday Milan fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away to Napoli and Mexes hopes that can fire up the side.
“We showed a great reaction in Naples and that gave us a lot of confidence. We need points in Serie A, but have proved we’ve got strength and do not deserve to be in that position.
“The Champions League is a different tournament entirely and we are in a very balanced group. Anderlecht have shown they’ve got quality, but we will all fight together to get through to the next round.
“Things are not going the way they should. We lacked some good fortune, but also make individual mistakes. The only way out of this is to stay united and work together in the same direction.”
These teams drew 0-0 at San Siro in the opening round of the group, a performance that Massimiliano Allegri later referred to as their “worst of the season.”
AC Milan are interested in signing Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, reports in Italy have suggested today.
Tutto Mercato claim that the Rossoneri are on the look-out for a new shot-stopper after Christian Abbiati's shaky start to the season, and could be on the verge of bringing the Switzerland international to San Siro.
The 29-year-old could be available for around €7m as the Wolves continue to struggle in the Bundesliga having won just four games so far.
Benaglio has been ever-present for the Radkappen this term, playing in all 12 League games and keeping two clean sheets.
Anderlecht chief wary of AC Milan threat 20.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan could look to sign Borussia Monchengladbach youngster Granit Xhaka in January, according to reports in Italy.
The former Basel man only signed for the German club this summer, but Tutto Mercato Web believe that the Rossoneri could look to bring the 20-year-old to Serie A in the winter transfer window.
The Switzerland international has been ever-present in the Foals' side this season, starting eight Bundesliga games and scoring one goal.
An offer of around €15m is likely to attract the interest of Monchengladbach, but Massimiliano Allegri's team may have to fight off the advances of Lazio who are also interested in the midfielder's signature.
'Allegri to credit for El Shaarawy rise' 20.11 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri is glad of the San Paolo point, but warns Milan “have to grow up. We still make far too many mistakes.”
The Rossoneri looked to be heading for another defeat when trailing 2-0 to Napoli, but Stephan El Shaarawy’s brace completed the comeback for a 2-2 draw.
“In the second half we suffered a couple of situations that could’ve been avoided and were down to our errors, which is when Napoli could’ve finished us off,” admitted the Coach.
“Today the centre-backs did well to close down Edinson Cavani’s diagonal runs and I think we had a good game in defence overall.
“We ran a few too many risks on some occasions, but we also created a lot of chances towards the end. With Mbaye Niang and Antonio Nocerino being a little sharper, we could even have won it.
“We have to grow up, as we still make far too many mistakes on an individual level. This is a team that must mature and learn from the errors as well as its position in the table.
“The point is deserved considering the way we played and the intensity on the field,” continued Allegri.
“I replaced Riccardo Montolivo because he was tired and I needed a fresh pair of legs that would be more active around the opposition area. Kevin-Prince Boateng also played well and needs to relax back into things.
“Why did I choose Niang instead of Pato? I thought we had the chances to win it and that the Frenchman could settle better into the game late on compared to Pato.”
This week Allegri was spotted in training lambasting his squad, complaining that their mentality could send Milan into Serie B.
“I said those things to motivate the squad ahead of a series of important and complicated games. If we face those with the wrong approach, then we could be dragged to the bottom of the barrel.”
El Shaarawy: 'Dedicated to Abbiati' 17.11 ||webmaster
Napoli were gifted a 2-0 lead by defensive howlers, but Stephan El Shaarawy’s brace completed the comeback for a Milan draw at the San Paolo.
This should’ve been a Scudetto battle, but instead the Rossoneri were languishing in the lower end of the table. Injuries didn’t help their cause, as Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera, Luca Antonini, Sulley Muntari and Djamel Mesbah all missed the trip along with the suspended Massimo Ambrosini. Alexandre Pato and Giampaolo Pazzini were both dropped in favour of a new trident. Napoli were without Goran Pandev and the banned Valon Behrami, so Lorenzo Insigne got a rare start alongside goal-machine Edinson Cavani.
Milan’s record at the San Paolo was not encouraging either, as they had won here only once since Napoli’s return to the top flight in 2007. Juve’s draw with Lazio earlier this evening gave Walter Mazzarri’s men the chance to close on the leaders.
Gokhan Inler broke the deadlock with the first real attempt and Christian Abbiati made an absolute hash of it. The goalkeeper, wearing the captain’s armband, was caught wrong-footed by a hopeful long-range strike from the Swiss international that swerved a little in the air.
Milan went close when Riccardo Montolivo prodded inches wide while falling to get on the end of a Kevin-Prince Boateng assist. Cavani was incorrectly flagged offside when one-on-one against Kevin Constant, while Antonio Nocerino blasted over the bar.
Juan Camilo Zuniga returned from injury and his effort was deflected wide, but Abbiati was made to look foolish again for Napoli’s second goal. Insigne spun round and his shot took a deflection off Francesco Acerbi, sending the ball squirming through Abbiati’s legs.
It should’ve been 3-0 moments later when Insigne pounced on a terrible Constant back-pass, but the youngster tried to set up Cavani instead of going for goal and it was intercepted by Philippe Mexes.
Milan finally threatened on 38 minutes, as Stephan El Shaarawy failed to get the final touch to an angled Boateng ball across the face of goal.
The Rossoneri pulled one back on the stroke of half-time when Mattia De Sciglio rolled back to the edge of the box where El Shaarawy curled a first-time scorcher under the bar.
After the restart Nocerino fired over from distance and Mexes turned wide from a corner. Cavani was booked for a mistimed tackle on Bojan Krkic, meaning he’ll be suspended next week against Cagliari.
Bojan toe-poked off target to ruin a promising counter-attack and Boateng turned a couple of good chances over. However, Napoli went so close on the hour mark when Hamsik rolled across for Christian Maggio to come sliding in just a second too late to get the decisive touch at the back post.
Milan almost gifted Cavani a goal with a terrible pass, but this time Abbiati parried with his feet. Cavani then anticipated Mexes with a high foot to send Hamsik through, but the Slovak drilled wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The Rossoneri were pouring forward and Hugo Campagnaro was decisive to take the ball off Bojan’s foot as Morgan De Sanctis had come rushing off his line. Boateng attempted an overhead kick from the corner, but it was wild and high.
Pazzini was thrown on for Montolivo and Robinho made his appearance, but Bojan was curiously booked for simulation after he was shoved by Cavani.
Napoli had three shots charged down during the same move, as Abbiati eventually stuck out a foot to deny Cavani.
However, Milan completed their comeback from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the San Paolo. Substitute Robinho threaded through for El Shaarawy, who kept his cool to side-foot it past De Sanctis into the far bottom corner for his 10th Serie A goal of the season.
Maggio blasted over from a promising position and Mbaye Niang tested De Sanctis from distance, then El Shaarawy had his toe-poke smothered on the counter.
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Gamberini; Maggio (Vargas 89), Inler, Dzemaili, Hamsik, Zuniga (Dossena 88); Cavani, Insigne (Mesto 66)
Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Mexes, Acerbi, Constant; Montolivo (Pazzini 76), De Jong, Nocerino; Boateng (Robinho 80), Bojan (Niang 85), El Shaarawy
AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi confirmed he likes Mario Balotelli “a lot,” fuelling more reports of a January offer for the Manchester City enigma.
The patron spent five hours at the Milanello training ground on Friday in a bid to revive the squad after a dismal start to the season.
While there, Berlusconi spoke to the media on numerous topics and was asked about Balotelli.
“I like him. I like him a lot,” was the response from the media magnate and former Prime Minister of Italy.
Balotelli has never disguised that he is a Rossoneri fan and would prefer this club above all others if he were to leave Manchester City.
His contract expires in 2014 and agent Mino Raiola has repeatedly stated no Italian club will be able to afford his transfer fee or his current wages.
Nonetheless, Berlusconi’s comments have fuelled speculation of a January offer for SuperMario.
Meanwhile, La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Coach Massimiliano Allegri blasted his squad during a team meeting.
“I didn’t see a single tackle won in 20 minutes. The problem is not in your legs, it is in your heads,” he allegedly said during training.
“You’re not all here with your minds and this is why we are losing. To you it makes no difference whether we win or lose and that cannot happen at a club like Milan. If we carry on like this, we’ll end up in Serie B.”
Papadopoulos not joining AC Milan 17.11 ||webmaster
Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos will not be making a move to Milan, according to the player's agent.
Rumours had circulated this afternoon that the Greek centre-back was on the verge of a transfer to the San Siro, but his representative has rubbished those reports, revealing that the 20-year-old has only just signed a contract extension with the German club.
“The rumours are a strange one to me,” he told calciomercato.com. “He has only just signed until 2016 at Schalke.
“Maybe the clubs have contacted each other directly, but all I can say is that at the time of signing, Schalke and the player were completely satisfied.
“The boy is happy at the club and his family are entirely settled in Gelsenkirchen.
“In terms of his age, Kyriakos is one of the best defenders in the world, so it is obvious that other clubs may be interested, but we are not thinking of a move.
“Maybe one day we will go and experience another League, but not now.”
Mazzarri wary of AC Milan threat 17.11 ||webmaster
Davide Lippi, the son of Coach Marcello Lippi, outlined Milan’s collaboration with Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
“Milan are set to release a statement on this,” Davide Lippi told Sky Sport Italia television.
“Guangzhou Evergrande are an important figure on the Chinese stage and Milan want to collaborate with them.
“The President of the Chinese club will tour Europe starting from December and I will certainly accompany him in Italy.
“Initially it will be a meeting and a commercial rapport, but we cannot know what could happen in future.”
There are reports the deal could include investment in Milan with Marcello Lippi returning to Italy as technical director.
“It is not a visit linked in with the transfer market, but simply to understand how we can outline the collaboration. There will certainly be a meeting with Adriano Galliani, plus visits to Milanello and San Siro.”
Stephan El Shaarawy is delighted with his first goal for the Italian national team, according to his agent.
The Milan youngster scored for the Azzurri in their 2-1 loss to France on Wednesday night, and his representative has revealed that the 20-year-old was pleased to open his account for Cesare Prandelli's side.
“Stephan and I were together after the game,” Roberto Lo Florio told Radio Crc. “He was really delighted to score, but disappointed with the result.
“Italy didn't deserve to lose – they suffered a lot of bad luck, but the important thing for Stephan now is to get back and play well for Milan.
“He's made the most of his opportunities this season, but we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground.
“Unfortunately, Milan are going through a difficult time at the moment, having sold all their senior players – it's going to be a year of reconstruction and transition.”
El Shaarawy has been in exceptional form this season for the misfiring Rossoneri, scoring eight goals in Serie A, and attracting the interest of some of the biggest clubs in European football.
Thiago Silva: AC Milan never like this 15.11 ||webmaster
Alexandre Pato looks ahead to Napoli-Milan, explains why he took the penalty and denies he was attacked by angry fans.
The striker sat down with Milan Channel just days after a 3-1 home defeat to Fiorentina in which he blasted a penalty over the bar.
“The game didn’t go the way we expected and unfortunately we lost three points at home, but now have to focus on Napoli,” said The Duck.
“I can say we are growing, but cannot keep throwing points away like this. On Saturday we have a very important match with Napoli and must think about winning it.
“I am disappointed at missing the spot-kick, but I am a penalty taker and so am not afraid to miss. If I should find myself on that spot again in future, maybe even against Napoli, I would not pull back.
“I put all of myself into it. Unfortunately the ball went out, but I cannot say I gave it less than 100 per cent, as I practiced it in training.”
Pato was jeered off the field after that miss and substituted at the break, but there were reports he was even surrounded and harassed by angry fans after the game.
“It is impossible not to hear the whistles of the fans and I agree with them, as I know how tough it is for fans accustomed to great victories and important trophies. We are in a growth process and many champions left, so we are doing our best. I’m sure they are close to the team and will never leave us.
“I read someone claimed the fans attacked my car when I was in it, but that’s just not true. I left San Siro the way I usually do and criticism is understandable, but not when they make stuff up.”
Pato missed almost an entire season with muscular problems and has just returned to the field, but is lacking match fitness and sharpness.
“I am back after a long time, but in a way I never left. I have always been here working hard and am back playing on the pitch, which is what makes me happy. When I reach 100 per cent, everything will be fine.
“To those who say I am scared of hurting myself again, I reply that they don’t know me. The only time I was ever afraid was when I was 10 years old and risked losing an arm.
“I have never felt so calm, as I am working well in a great squad with marvellous fans.”
Emanuelson: AC Milan back at square one 13.11 ||webmaster
Urby Emanuelson has admitted that the there is a 'heavy atmosphere' around Milan after their poor start to the season.
The Netherlands international has been almost ever-present in the Rossoneri's starting XI so far in the campaign, but has conceded that they are 'back to square one' after their 3-1 loss to Fiorentina at the weekend.
“We are in a difficult situation at the moment,” he told fcupdate.nl. “It seemed that we were getting better after a really poor start, but now we're back to square one.
“The team feels the pressure, as does the Coach. And that aggravates what is already a heavy atmosphere around the club.
“Our biggest problem is we don't have a solid base of players. Three or four always play, and the rest just rotate around them.”
Massimiliano Allegri's relationship with the Milan players looked to be disintegrating after reports surfaced of his rant after the loss to Fiorentina.
The Rossoneri lost 3-1 to Vincenzo Montella's side at San Siro on Sunday, and the 45-year-old tactician looks to finally be losing patience with his squad after they sank to their sixth defeat in 12 games.
“If you wanted to prove that you are all against me,” Gazzetta dello Sport report he said after the final whistle. “Then you did it.”
The club's Vice-President Adriano Galliani publicly backed the manager at the weekend, but rumours of a proposed approach for former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola have gathered momentum over the past few weeks.
Raiola: Balotelli staying at Manchester City 13.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan’s silence after the latest defeat to Fiorentina suggests Massimiliano Allegri is more at risk than ever before.
The Coach was adamant his team was “not inferior” to the Viola, but today’s 3-1 home loss showed a marked difference in both result and possession.
Unlike after previous setbacks, Vice-President Adriano Galliani has not come out to publicly defend Allegri.
In fact, Galliani has not spoken to the media at all, which is an unusual move. It is rumoured he is waiting to speak with President Silvio Berlusconi before giving any more statements on Allegri’s future.
If he is sacked, then assistant manager Mauro Tassotti is expected to be promoted in his place.
Milan are in 13th place, just five points clear of the relegation zone and 12 points adrift of the Champions League spots.
Allegri: 'AC Milan not inferior to Fiorentina' 11.11 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri insists Milan were not inferior to Fiorentina today despite their 3-1 home defeat and defended Alexandre Pato.
The Rossoneri are plummeting down the standings after this setback at San Siro and are now only five points clear of the relegation zone.
“Fiorentina played well and kept possession, but we gifted them two goals from throw-ins. We did not react well and that is unacceptable.
“The Viola ran hard and pressed us around the field, but we were too deep and feel regret because they didn’t really have many chances aside from the ones we gave them.
“It was a fairly balanced encounter. Fiorentina kept possession, but it is chances that count in football.”
Allegri was criticised for picking Pato in the starting XI, especially after the Brazilian ballooned a penalty over the bar.
“Pato had done well on Tuesday, so I thought he would grow and improve by playing more. The problem is that our style of football needs us to run at full speed and playing every three days we can’t do that.
“Sometimes we have to play badly and try to get a result anyway. We ought to avoid the slips in concentration.
“It’s a shame about the results, as we could’ve gone up to sixth place today and did not manage it.”
Serie A: AC Milan 1:3 Fiorentina - match report 11.11 ||webmaster
Alberto Aquilani returned to San Siro with a goal, as Fiorentina beat Milan 3-1 after Alexandre Pato missed a penalty.
The Rossoneri are still trying to find their feet, but a 5-1 win over Chievo and 1-1 Champions League draw with Malaga boosted confidence. There’s an injury crisis in defence ruling out Ignazio Abate, Luca Antonini, Djamel Mesbah and Didac Vila, so Kevin Constant and Mattia De Sciglio were the full-backs. Fiorentina were flying high in fourth place, but lost Stevan Jovetic to a thigh injury and Michele Camporese was still sidelined.
The Viola have earned only one away win this season, but did conquer San Siro last term. This was a special game for Riccardo Montolivo and Alberto Aquilani, who were facing their former clubs.
Stephan El Shaarawy cut in from the left to fire just over the bar, but it was Fiorentina who broke the deadlock after 10 minutes.
A throw-in was flicked on twice until the unmarked Aquilani ghosted in to fire home past former teammate Christian Abbiati from 12 yards. His celebrations were somewhat muted out of respect for the San Siro crowd.
El Shaarawy set up Urby Emanuelson, denied by a crucial sliding tackle as he was pulling the trigger, while Luca Toni’s pass to send Borja Valero clear was a touch too heavy.
Facundo Roncaglia had space in the box from a quickly-taken free kick, but hesitated and was shrugged off the ball.
Roncaglia was penalised at the other end moments later, as he went elbow first on to the back of Alexandre Pato’s head and the referee considered it to be a foul. Pato stepped up to take the kick and blasted it well over the bar!
Fiorentina took advantage and made it 2-0 at San Siro, as Borja Valero went on a mazy run through the defence to place an angled drive past Abbiati, but Philippe Mexes put in a completely ineffective tackle. Milan were jeered off the pitch at half-time.
Max Allegri made a double change, introducing Bojan Krkic and ex-Fiorentina striker Giampaolo Pazzini. Boateng’s glancing header skimmed the base of the upright as Milan were pouring forward and finally got a goal back.
A corner was not cleared effectively and the Mexes cheeky backheel flick bounced off the back post into the path of Pazzini to tap in from a couple of yards.
The Rossoneri were desperate to turn this around, so threw on every forward at their disposal, but struggled against Fiorentina’s classy possession football.
In fact, Mattia Cassani could’ve added a third for the Viola, but his effort cracked against the upright with four minutes left on the clock after springing the offside trap on a ball over the top down the right.
That was only a warning, as Fiorentina did extend their lead with a stunning Mounir El Hamdaoui goal, controlling and lobbing Abbiati from the edge of the box to steer it into the far top corner. It was his Serie A debut strike.
AC Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Mexes, Bonera, Constant; Ambrosini (Robinho 76), Montolivo; Emanuelson (Bojan 46), Boateng, El Shaarawy; Pato (Pazzini 46)
Fiorentina have reacted angrily to rumours Milan, Napoli and Lazio are eager to poach Vincenzo Montella. “He is under lock and key.”
The stories have been appearing in newspapers over the last few days, as the Coach impressed with his style of football and results taking the Viola to fourth place.
“I really love watching this team, even when they are training,” said patron Andrea Della Valle.
“There’s a long way to go and a lot of euphoria at recent results, but we must remain concentrated. It’ll be tough against Milan tomorrow and the important thing is to keep playing in our style, which has impressed all of Italy.
“Adriano Galliani said he admired Montella’s football and we knew full well he was the right choice. Obviously he is under lock and key, so anything else is just newspaper talk.”
Tomorrow will also see the Viola face Riccardo Montolivo, who left on a free transfer to join Milan after a lengthy and often bitter tug of war over his contract.
“He is a good lad and we even spoke personally. Sometimes agents can say things that are not helpful and it’s best not to create controversy,” continued ADV.
“It all turned out for the best anyway, as he is happy at Milan and we have an excellent squad. His agents managed to take him away from Florence, but I hold nothing against Riccardo.”
Allegri: 'AC Milan - Fiorentina for Europe' 10.11 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri again warned Milan fans “it’ll take time to win” and their target is fourth place, which makes the game with Fiorentina a head-to-head for Europe.
The Rossoneri feel they have turned a corner with the 5-1 drubbing of Chievo, but are seven points adrift of the Tuscans.
“Fiorentina are getting results and playing fairly well. They have technically gifted individuals and so like to keep possession. This will be difficult like every other game and one we have to win to climb up the table,” said the Coach.
“We will be ready to play with great intensity. Stevan Jovetic is out, but we have great respect for Fiorentina, as they have David Pizarro, some tough defenders and quick wingers. We must play like a team that knows what it wants.
“As for us, I can confirm that Mattia De Sciglio, Kevin Constant and Daniele Bonera will play. I think Philippe Mexes will be in the middle too. I have a doubt between Massimo Ambrosini and Nigel De Jong, though Antonio Nocerino is also doing well.
“In attack I am considering Alexandre Pato and Giampaolo Pazzini, but of the two I think the Brazilian will start. Stephan El Shaarawy has a little problem with his tendon, so we’ll have to see, but Kevin-Prince Boateng is in great shape and will probably start.”
Allegri remains under fire after a 1-1 Champions League draw with Malaga and inconsistent Serie A results that have left them in 10th place.
“I won’t reply anymore to questions on my situation or the transfer market. We got results in my first two years, it was unthinkable to be top this season with so many changes.
“I started this experience with enthusiasm and will keep it going until my contract expires in 2014, trying to get back to challenging for the top spots. We can have a great campaign and are still in the running for every objective.
“We played so many youngsters in the Champions League and it’ll take time to win, though obviously our ambition is to do so right away.
“At this moment we haven’t resolved our problems and are a long way from the top three. Right now our objective is fourth, fifth or sixth place, then we’ll see as we go on what the situation is. We’ve got to get back on our feet and go through to the Champions League knockouts.”
This is a special game for Riccardo Montolivo, who left Fiorentina on a free transfer in the summer to join Milan.
“He can play football and it’s a shame he was criticised at the start of the season,” continued Allegri.
“It’s only normal that sooner or later a talent will emerge from his negative patch. He’s got brains and has above all grown in terms of character.”
Former Fiorentina boss Delio Rossi has commended Riccardo Montolivo's professionalism ahead of Milan's game against the Viola on Saturday.
The 27-year-old left Florence in the summer on a free transfer after refusing to sign a contract extension with the club, but his ex-Coach has hailed the way in which he performed during his last few months in Tuscany.
“Riccardo is a great professional,” he told Firenze Viola. “I did not like the situation that had surrounded him, but I kept picking him because he has great feelings for Fiorentina.
“He was always a leader in the dressing room, it was just some details on his contract that kept him from staying.”
Montolivo joined Milan during the off-season and has played 10 Serie A games for the Rossoneri, scoring two goals.
AC Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini has admitted he is pleased with the club's decision to keep Coach Massimiliano Allegri.
The Rossoneri have struggled so far in Serie A winning just four of their first 11 League games, but the 35-year-old has conceded that he is personally pleased to see the former Cagliari man stay at San Siro.
“It has been a difficult time for everyone,” he told Milan Channel. “But the Coach has done a very good job.
“He has been questioned by everyone from outside, but he has remained humble and had the courage to change things around.
“It is good management by the owners. We have always had faith, and the fans have understood.”
Riccardo Montolivo has admitted that he will not celebrate should he score for Milan against former club Fiorentina this weekend.
“I don’t think it would be right,” he stated. “Not celebrating would be the best way to respect my seven years in Viola.
“It won’t be just another game for me. I was in Florence for some time and I definitely can’t forget that.”
The midfielder joined the Diavolo in the summer on a free transfer and is now starting to make an impact after a difficult beginning.
“I think the turning point for myself was the derby against Inter,” he added. “That was the game where I started playing with more conviction and gave what I always thought I would be able to give with this jersey.
“I’m really happy to be at Milan, a great club, perhaps the biggest,” continued the Italian international.
“I’m playing in the most beautiful stadium in the world and I have no regrets about joining the Rossoneri.”
Montolivo had a difficult final season in Tuscany given that he openly refused to sign a new contract with the Viola.
“I was blamed for a lot of things, but I always gave my best for that shirt,” he explained. “My regret is that I was never able to speak with the club owners, just the directors with whom I had issues with.
“I’m now happy that Fiorentina have been re-born because the city deserves a strong team, but I’m now at Milan and I want to win.”
One of Riccardo Montolivo’s agents has revealed why the Milan man refused to sign a new contract at Fiorentina.
“In the summer of 2010, Montolivo left for the World Cup after a kind of agreement was reached over an extension,” Carlo Pallavicino told the Corriere dello Sport. “It was a five-year deal worth €2m a season.
“The first alarm bell sounded when fellow agent Giovanni Branchini was at the Viola HQ and he was told that Montolivo would play in front of the defence.
“On his way back to Milan from that meeting, he turned on the radio and heard that Fiorentina had announced the signing of Gaetano D’Agostino – something that wasn’t mentioned to him.
“The relationship cracked from that moment, but certainly not because of D’Agostino himself. The fact is that we lacked a direct contact with the Della Valle brothers.”
Montolivo left the club on a Bosman after making it clear that he wouldn’t sign a new deal in Tuscany.
“Branchini tried to open negotiations with Milan and Atletico Madrid over a transfer, but Fiorentina didn’t want to hear about it…”
Montolivo will take on his former club this weekend.
AC Milan hail Montella's footballing beauty 9.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan striker Mbaye Niang has received a one-year ban from the French national team at all levels after he went AWOL from a training camp to go clubbing.
The teenager was one of several teammates who received the same punishment while they were on Under-21 duty.
Niang, Antoine Griezmann, Wissam Ben Yedder and Chris Mavinga were also banned until December 31, 2013.
Yann M’Vila has been suspended until June 30, 2014 due to his past record of indiscipline.
In October the players were found in a Paris nightclub when they should have been with the rest of the squad at a training base in the north of the country.
France’s Under-21s were midway through a two-legged qualifying encounter with Norway at the time, playing for a place in the 2013 European Championships in Israel.
Norway eventually went through 5-4 on aggregate, with the players facing no immediate sanction from their Coach Erick Mombaerts.
However, Mombaerts was soon after sacked and the youngsters were all called before the FFF’s Disciplinary Commission late last month to explain themselves,with today the confirmation of their findings announced in a brief statement confirming the bans handed out.
Niang has barely featured for Milan this season and it is widely believed he’ll be loaned out or even sold in January.
Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella is the latest tactician being linked with a summer move to Milan.
The future of current Coach Massimiliano Allegri is in some doubt after a problematic start to the season where he has experimented with numerous formations.
Although former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola is at the top of their wish-list, the Diavolo will face some stiff competition for the Spaniard.
Zenit St Petersburg Coach Luciano Spalletti is also a possible target, as are former midfielders Roberto Donadoni – currently at Parma – and Frank Rijkaard who is in charge of the Saudi Arabia national side.
However, Montella is today being paired given his quick rise in the Italian game following a brief spell at Roma, Catania and now Fiorentina.
The former striker will take his Viola to San Siro this weekend to face the Rossoneri.
Jovetic not fit for AC Milan match 8.11 ||webmaster
The agent of Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out a summer move to Italian giants Milan.
The Spaniard was again paired with the Diavolo yesterday after his brother Pere was at San Siro to watch the 1-1 draw with Malaga.
“He wasn’t there for Pep,” José Maria Orobitg told TMW on Wednesday. “Absolutely not, as I’m his agent – not his brother Pere…
“Guardiola's brother was in Italy yesterday because Malaga were playing against Milan and he represents many of the Malaga players. He was only there to watch a football match.
“Pep to Milan? Everything is possible for next season and I've already said this before. I always speak with Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani and he's always very kind.
“The relationship between us is good. Who knows what will happen in the future…
“The doors are open for Milan, just like they are open for Manchester City, Chelsea and so on,” he continued.
“Pep will listen to offers and then he will evaluate them. But so far we haven't talked about Milan, which is also because Guardiola won't be coaching until next term. We will talk about his future again in June.
“I won't exclude anything, but when I say that everything is possible, then I'm also referring to Manchester City, Chelsea and other important clubs.”
Guardiola has decided to take a year out of the game after turning Barcelona into European and world champions.
Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini celebrated qualification for the Champions League group phase and laughed off links with a future at Milan.
“It was important to achieve qualification tonight and especially in such a world famous stadium against a great team,” he told Sky Sport Italia after the 1-1 San Siro draw.
“We spoke with the players and decided it was best to score the goal in the first half, then after the break we controlled well until Pato’s goal. We knew just what quality he has and what he can do.
“Milan were able to control the tempo of the game, but they did not create that many opportunities.”
Pellegrini is one of the candidates for the Milan bench next season, along with Pep Guardiola and Luciano Spalletti.
“I want to do well at Malaga,” he smiled when asked about the reports. “I want to get back up the Liga table where we are in eighth place, as to play in the Champions League next season too we have to do well domestically. Of course, we hope to do our best in this European journey.”
Massimiliano Allegri reveals why he made some surprise substitutions and how he approached Malaga, as Milan face “a fight to the end.”
The Rossoneri earned a 1-1 draw to stay second in their Champions League group, but are only one point clear of Anderlecht and two from Zenit.
“It’s a battle for the final two games. Right to the final match with Zenit everything will be in the balance, but that was always going to be the case regardless of tonight’s result.
“Champions League games are always difficult, especially against Malaga,” said the Coach.
“We had to keep the tempo up, just as we did in the second half, though paradoxically when playing with less intensity we created more chances.
“The lads had a good game and we made some mistakes after the break in our passing, which can happen. We ought to be more precise. In the first half we did very well on the right side, while on the left Stephan El Shaarawy was too static and gave them more reference points.
“The team is improving and I was glad to see the intensity in the second half. Let’s not forget we had four lads today who are under 24, so it is a chapter in their growth and maturation.
“Physically we are in good shape and unfortunately Ignazio Abate’s injury meant we wasted a substitution.”
Another surprise change saw El Shaarawy replaced by Kevin-Prince Boateng, much to the irritation of the San Siro crowd.
“He has played so much recently, but there are games where he is not as sharp and might need some rest.”
Alexandre Pato remained on the field and scored his first Champions League goal in 11 months.
“Pato was growing as time went on and this goal will help him to find confidence, as will the fact he played for 90 minutes with good intensity.
“Malaga went into our half about twice after the break. In two games we allowed Malaga three shots on target and they scored with two of them.
“They have great technique in attack and if you don’t press them in their own half, which in the second half we did, then they will put you on the rack.
“I liked Nigel De Jong tonight, as he won back possession and was strong in the one-on-one. He has just arrived in Italy from a League where there was very little focus on tactics, so it takes him a while to adapt.
“Riccardo Montolivo had an extraordinary performance, both with the ball and without it.”
Riccardo Montolivo confirms he is impressed with Milan’s new tactical approach against Malaga, but still had pointers on where to improve.
The Rossoneri held Malaga to a 1-1 draw today, which was enough to send the Spaniards through to the knockouts, whereas Milan have five points, Anderlecht four and Zenit three.
“Apart from Malaga, qualifying is open to any possibility. It will go down to the end,” Montolivo told Sky Sport Italia.
“Malaga caused us problems and that is their style, but compared to the first game we took the initiative and dominated with a series of chances.
“Unfortunately we conceded against the run of play with Eliseu finding that gap. It’s a shame, as we had been doing well.
“Their players moved between the lines and that caused us problems. The Coach told us to be wary of that movement and then set off, so in midfield we had to be more careful than against Chievo.”
Milan adopted the 4-2-3-1 system, which had also been used against Chievo at the weekend.
“I think our best performances this season have been with this system. We have the players to take a different approach too, but right now we need a sense of certainty.
“I believe we still require a faster tempo and a little more initiative in the final third to unlock opposition defences. We had several chances today, but perhaps could’ve done with being a little more precise in our finishing.”
Alexandre Pato scored his first goal of the season to snatch a 1-1 draw against Malaga that keeps Milan in second place. The Rossoneri are only one point clear of Anderlecht now, though.
The Spaniards were practically qualified for the next phase, but the Rossoneri were looking for precious points after their 1-0 defeat in Malaga. Robinho was only fit for the bench, but Alexandre Pato and Nigel De Jong were chosen ahead of Giampaolo Pazzini and Massimo Ambrosini, while Luca Antonini and Djamel Mesbah were sidelined. Max Allegri stuck with the 4-2-3-1 system that proved so successful in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Chievo. Malaga missed Julio Baptista, Nacho Monreal and Recio, but Sergio Sanchez returned.
Malaga were the only side in the tournament who still hadn’t conceded a goal. Milan had to make a substitution after just six minutes, as Ignazio Abate picked up a muscular problem in the warm-up and the risk did not pay off, so he had to make way for Under-21 international Mattia De Sciglio.
Eliseu’s half-hearted lob could not trouble Christian Abbiati, but at the other end Bojan Krkic nutmegged a defender and unleashed a swerving strike that Willy Caballero brilliantly palmed round the near post. The former Barcelona starlet then got to the by-line and pulled back for Stephan El Shaarawy, who was unlucky to see his shot deflected wide.
Moments El Shaarawy slipped in the box under pressure and Riccardo Montolivo’s follow-up was deflected over.
Another great flying Willy save managed to flap a curling Urby Emanuelson free kick out of the far top corner, as Milan stepped up the pressure. It would’ve been a stunning goal for the Dutchman.
However, it was Malaga who broke the deadlock at San Siro against the run of play. An angled Isco through ball caught out Kevin Constant and allowed Eliseu through for a daisy-cutter past Abbiati into the far bottom corner.
Bojan went on a surging run through the middle, but was closed down by Martin Demichelis when he perhaps should’ve passed to El Shaarawy. Emanuelson then blasted just over the bar.
After the restart Emanuelson’s snapshot was too central and smothered by Willy Caballero, then El Shaarawy turned between two defenders but couldn’t keep the finish on target. Riccardo Montolivo attempted a backheel flick from a corner, but it hit Camacho’s hip.
The Malaga goalkeeper fumbled a cross when colliding with Demichelis, but Constant was unable to take advantage and scuffed the shot wide with his weaker foot. Emanuelson blasted well over, but Massimiliano Allegri prompted jeers of disappointment and irritation from the crowd when he replaced El Shaarawy with Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Another Emanuelson free kick was comfortably into the goalkeeper’s arms, as was the angled drive from substitute Roque Santa Cruz, while Willy Caballero flapped a Philippe Mexes cross out from under the bar.
Milan got their equaliser from a touched-on corner, as Constant whipped a cross to the back post for Pato’s cushioned header. It was the Brazilian’s first goal of the season and the first Malaga have conceded in the Champions League.
Boateng did well to get in front of Jesus Gamez to volley a De Sciglio cross, but again Willy Caballero was ready with a solid catch. Allegri gambled with his final switch, introducing fit-again Robinho for Emanuelson, as Milan’s tails were up.
Boateng got back to intercept a dangerous pass that would’ve sent Eliseu clear on goal at the 87th minute, as the Rossoneri were pouring forward in a desperate bid to secure victory and forcing numerous corners. Constant over-stretched and was limping, but had to continue for the closing stages.
AC Milan 1-1 Malaga
Scorers: Eliseu 40 (Ma), Pato 73 (Mi)
AC Milan: Abbiati; Constant, Mexes, Bonera, Abate (De Sciglio 6); Montolivo, De Jong; El Shaarawy (Boateng 62), Bojan, Emanuelson (Robinho 80); Pato
Malaga midfielder Isco has admitted that playing at San Siro is a dream come true, ahead of his team's match with Milan.
The Spanish side travel to Lombardy to face the Rossoneri in Champions League Group C on Tuesday, and the 20-year-old wunderkid has admitted that stepping out on to the turf at Giuseppe Meazza will be an ambition realised.
“It is clear that from a historical point of view, this is one of Malaga's biggest games,” he told Marca. “And to play at San Siro is the dream of any player.
“We hope to be up to the challenge and play a good match.”
Manuel Pellegrini's men have been sensational in their debut European campaign, topping the group after three games, without conceding a goal.
Milan meanwhile, sit in second place five points behind the La Liga team.
'No Italian clubs interested in Perin' 6.11 ||webmaster
Pescara goalkeeper Mattia Perin has not been contacted by any of Italy's major clubs, according to his agent.
Contrary to reports in Gazzetta dello Sport this morning linking the teenager with a move to Milan in the summer, his representative has confirmed that no Italian clubs have been in touch about a move.
But, he has conceded that a number of foreign clubs are interested in the Delfini shot-stopper.
“Mattia is doing well this season, so it is normal to see these reports,” Moreno Roggi told Gazzetta Giallorossa. “But it is still early to talk about the transfer market.
“There have been many teams that have shown an interest, but as yet, no one has contacted us directly.
“I can say though, that the teams interested are foreign and not Italian.”
Perin is on-loan at Giovanni Stroppa's side for the season, from parent club Genoa, so far playing 10 Serie A games and conceding 17 goals.
AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has confirmed that Coach Massimiliano Allegri has the club's full support.
The Rossoneri have struggled so far this season, claiming just 14 points from 11 Serie A games, but the 68-year-old CEO has admitted that the former Cagliari man will remain in his post for the foreseeable future.
“We have always defended Allegri,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “Even in the most difficult of times. The Coach has our full support.
“I do not see why we have to talk about his future. Allegri has another year on his contract, and has the desire to stay.”
He also commented on the Champions League match against Malaga on Tuesday.
“The match with Malaga will be an important one for us,” he said. “Important, but not decisive.”
AC Milan are reportedly prepared to try and make Bojan Krkic’s move from Barcelona permanent, but they may face competition from Ligue 2 side Monaco.
The Rossoneri were handed the diminutive Spaniard by Roma this summer, taking up the final year of his loan from Barca and the terms of a possible permanent transfer.
Based on recent performances, which include his first goal scored for the side at the weekend, reports today suggest that the San Siro side are keen to consider buying the player at the end of his deal.
However, it is understood that this would only be through negotiations with Barca, rather than through honouring the initial fee agreed that is believed to be around €15m.
With this course of action projected, it is also rumoured, through Calcionews24, that Ligue 2 side Monaco, currently coached by Claudio Ranieri, are another side interested in entering negotiations for the youngster.
Adriano Galliani has warned that Milan still have a long way to go before they can declare themselves ‘back’, with November now a ‘fundamental month’.
The Rossoneri convincingly defeated Chievo 5-1 at the weekend, but Vice-President Galliani chose to follow on from Coach Massimiliano Allegri’s words of ‘regained confidence’ with a warning that the work has only just begun.
“The month of November is very important. There are six fundamental games between the League and Champions League that will allow us to move up the tables,” Galliani told reporters today.
“We are still far behind, we are 10th in the League, we must rise. It will not be easy, but we have to try.
“Tuesday’s game with Malaga is a major challenge because if we win we would take a major step forward towards qualification.
“In the League we have collected seven points from our first eight games and as many in the last three… Our performance needs to improve, it will take time and we are still very far away.”
Galliani was asked his view on the refereeing controversy to come out of the weekend’s match between Juventus and Inter.
“Many thoughts passed through my mind…Tagliavento was the referee last season for the Scudetto match between Milan and Juventus and he was the referee for the possible Scudetto match this year between Juventus and Inter… But who puts him in charge, every time?
“Did Vidal’s goal remind me of Muntari’s? Now that I will never forget…”
The Vice-President, who issued a hands-off to Manchester City for Stephan El-Shaarawy, returned the favour with some speculative comments on their forward Mario Balotelli.
“It is true, I love him madly, even if it can also be said that not every love in life can have a happy ending.”
AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri believes Saturday's victory over Chievo can spur them on to beat Malaga in the Champions League.
The Rossoneri defeated Eugenio Corini's side 5-1 at San Siro, and the 45-year-old Coach is of the opinion that the resounding win can kickstart their European campaign against the Spanish side tomorrow.
“Malaga are a great passing team,” he told a Press conference. “They are a team with great technical qualities as they showed against us in the first game.
“But I think the win against Chievo will be an important one for us. They had put us in a difficult position for the first 15 minutes, but my team recovered well.
“We are a team that's gaining confidence. Playing at San Siro is never easy, but my young players are proving their quality and getting used to the experience of winning there.”
He also commented on the options he has available for the game, and confirmed some of the starting XI for the match.
“Iganzio Abate and Kevin Constant will be the full-backs tomorrow, but I'm yet to decide on who will play at centre-back,” he said. “We will play with two defensive midfielders – Ricardo Montolivo will be one, and then other will be either Massimo Ambrosini or Nigel De Jong.
“There won't be many changes from the team that played Chievo.”
Emanuelson: 'It was like starting over again' 5.11 ||webmaster
AC Milan midfielder Urby Emanuelson has described the impact losing some of the club's best players had over the summer.
A host of world-class players departed San Siro during pre-season, and the Netherlands international has claimed it was 'like starting over again'.
“A lot of legends left us,” he told BBC Sport. “Some players who had played 10 or 15 years at the club – so of course it was difficult.
“It was a lot like starting over again. And then when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva left, obviously that had a huge impact on our team.”
He also commented on his relationship with countryman Clarence Seedorf, who left to join Botafogo in the off-season.
“The players who left were very, very important to me,” he said. “They helped me a lot in my first year here when it was difficult because I had more of a feeling that I was all by myself.
“It was difficult. I had played at Ajax for 17 years and everything in Milan was new. It was my first time out of Holland in a new city, new club, new people, new food.
“I knew I had to move to become a better player and Clarence helped me a lot from the beginning. I knew him already because our families know each other, and when I came to Milan, he was like my big brother.
“He was always watching out for me and very friendly, but also hard on me when I felt I had to do things better.
“I think it helped me a lot that those kind of players were around me when I was new here.”
The 26-year-old then went on to remark about the Rossoneri's poor start to the season and his own personal performances for the club.
“I know we are in a difficult moment but I feel I can be important for the team and I just want to help.
“I feel that people are expecting more from me now. I want to show I can make Milan better. That is the part that makes me a better player than when I was at Ajax – I have a lot more confidence now.
“There are two sides to our current situation. Of course we feel the pressure from the supporters to do better. People still expect great things from Milan because this is a great club with a great history.
“I think we are the biggest club in Italy.
“But it also feels like an adventure. It is like a new goal – we are building a new team. We have to work really hard but I am not afraid of what lies ahead.”
The Netherlands international concluded by praising Coach Massimiliano Allegri and the team spirit being perpetuated.
“He is dealing with it in a good way. He is very calm and works with us every day.
“It is normal that journalists attempt to get us down but it only makes us stronger. We are growing, we are together. From the Coach to the players and the assistant to the physios – everybody is sticking together.
Massimiliano Allegri believes Milan “deserved a night like this” after their 5-1 hammering of Chievo.
“The team played well from start to finish. Technically and physically we were in good shape and above all every player was at the disposal of the squad. It’s an important thing to choose the right Milan,” said the Coach.
“After a crisis period, we really needed a night like this and deserved it too. We still have to improve in some aspects, but we’re on the right track to do something good in a season that did not start well.
“So far we have been penalised by absences, though of course I too made mistakes. I also made them in the year we won the Scudetto.”
Allegri was asked about reports he is being lined up as the next Coach of Napoli if Walter Mazzarri leaves in the summer.
“I will not talk about Napoli. I’ll only say that I am happy at Milan and want to respect my contract. Now let’s concentrate on getting through to the next phase of the Champions League.”
Scorers: Emanuelson 16 (M), Pellissier 18 (C), Montolivo 36 (M), Bojan 41 (M), El Shaarawy 75 (M), Pazzini 93 (M)
Milan might’ve found their breakthrough in a 5-1 victory over Chievo, including Bojan Krkic’s first goal for the Rossoneri and Stephan El Shaarawy on target again.
Massimiliano Allegri was under fire for tactical changes against Palermo, so shelved the three-man defence in favour of a new 4-2-3-1 with Giampaolo Pazzini and Bojan stepping in. Daniele Bonera was suspended and Luca Antonini injured, so Kevin Constant was used as a make-shift left-back, while Christian Abbiati returned in goal after a respiratory infection. Chievo missed Bostjan Cesar, Alberto Paloschi and Lorenzo Squizzi, but Sergio Pellissier was fully fit and Paul Papp thrown into a very defensive line-up.
Chievo had lost their last 11 consecutive Serie A meetings with Milan, failing to score more than a goal per game.
Pazzini ballooned an early opportunity well over after a Chievo defensive error, while El Shaarawy’s long-range effort was too weak to trouble Stefano Sorrentino.
Milan broke the deadlock with Urby Emanuelson, as Marco Andreolli cleared a deflected cross on to his feet and the Dutchman wasted no time smashing an angled drive from the edge of the box into the far bottom corner. He was helped by a slight deflection off Boukary Drame’.
However, the celebrations had barely died down when Chievo were back on level terms. Milan again confirmed their poor defending from set plays, as Sergio Pellissier got in front of El Shaarawy for a glancing header at the near post.
A smart idea was ruined when Emanuelson rolled the free kick to the edge of the area, where the totally unmarked Philippe Mexes hit a fresh-air shot.
Perparim Hetemaj drilled wide from distance, but Cyril Thereau’s daisy-cutter was on target and Abbiati got down well to palm it round the upright. Mexes handled in the box, but it clearly bounced off his ankle and on to his arm, so was not a penalty.
Chievo were putting pressure on, but were caught out on the counter at San Siro. Emanuelson pulled back for Riccardo Montolivo, who picked his spot and placed the low right-foot angled drive into the far bottom corner from a couple of metres outside the area. It was the summer signing’s second goal in as many games.
It was still wide open, as Thereau sprung the offside trap and was one-on-one with Abbiati, who parried using his feet at the near post.
Milan extended their advantage with Bojan Krkic’s first goal in a Rossoneri jersey. He scored from roughly the same position as Montolivo, striking a precise finish with the inside of his right foot that took a slight deflection off Dario Dainelli to slip past Stefano Sorrentino’s fingertips at the near stick.
It is also the first time Milan have managed to score three at San Siro this season and El Shaarawy nearly added a fourth on Montolivo’s long pass, but Papp was crucial in charging down the shot from point-blank range.
Massimo Ambrosini blasted off target from distance after the restart. Drame’ was felled by a powerful Ignazio Abate cross that hit him full on in the face, leaving the defender semi-conscious. There were several minutes of treatment before he was stretchered off with a neck brace. It was later confirmed he lost consciousness for 40 seconds and was taken to hospital for a check-up.
Pazzini fired well over from a promising position, then El Shaarawy fired just wide of the upright after a pull-back from the by-line went beyond Kevin-Prince Boateng. Pazzini hit the side-netting at the end of a long passing move.
El Shaarawy celebrated his eighth Serie A goal of the season and confirmed his Capocannoniere status. The striker who turned 20 last week was in the right place to tap in an Abate cross at the back post from a couple of yards, as the Chievo defence did not cut it out.
El Shaarawy tried to set up Boateng too with an inspired cross-field pass from the centre-circle, but the Ghanaian volleyed over the bar. Constant also tested Sorrentino at the near post after a mazy run, then threaded through for Pazzini to set up Bojan and Sorrentino parried with an outstretched foot.
Pazzini got in on the celebration with the last kick of the game, prodding in from a couple of yards after El Shaarawy flashed the assist across the face of goal.
Milan: Abbiati; Abate (De Sciglio 86), Mexes, Zapata, Constant; Montolivo (De Jong 76), Ambrosini; Emanuelson (Boateng 67), Bojan, El Shaarawy; Pazzini
Olympique Marseille defender Nicolas Nkoulou is a transfer target for Milan and Roma, according to reports in France.
The Cameroon international is being tracked by the two Serie A giants Maxifoot.fr are reporting, but they may have to fight off advances from Barcelona, after Tito Vilanova's team were rumoured to be tracking the progress of the 22-year-old.
Nkoulou is contracted to L'OM until June 2015, but according to the website, they will consider offers in the summer of around €18m.
The former Monaco man joined Elie Baup's team in 2011, playing 63 games for the club.