AC Milan, Clubs, Italian Serie A, Story

Edin Dzeko scored for the fifth straight match to lead Roma past Milan, which finished with 10 men at the San Siro.
Edin Dzeko scored for the fifth straight match to lead Roma past Milan, which finished with 10 men at the San Siro.
After Milan’s loss to Roma, Gab Marcotti explains why it is crucial for the Rossoneri to finish in Serie A’s top four.

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella has been given a vote of confidence by sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli following the 2-0 home defeat to Roma on Sunday.

The defeat, a third in seven Serie A fixtures, has increased the pressure on Montella after a summer in which more than €200 million was spent on new signings.

Mirabelli backed the former Catania, Roma, Fiorentina and Sampdoria coach, telling Mediaset: “We’re only at the seventh round of matches.

“We’ve got a new squad and neither Montella nor any other coach has a magic wand. We’ve changed a lot.

“You don’t get the desired results from the get-go. We’ve got a group of players who must become a squad and, as far as we are concerned, Montella is working well.

“We’ve just got to hope that his work leads to great results.”

Former Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, out of work following his sacking by Bayern Munich, has been linked with a return.

But speaking prior to Sunday’s match, Mirabelli said such speculation was just “news which make the press happy.”

“The rumours make us smile,” he added. “Our project continues with Montella.”

Milan face a derby against Inter, who are seven points ahead of them, after the international break.

But Mirabelli said: “We’ve got to try not to look at the league table.

“You’ve got to analyse games and I can see positives also in this defeat. We want to bounce back [in the derby] and thank our fans, who are following us with great enthusiasm.

“Losing hurts, especially after a game like this one. We played a great side and, for 70 minutes, we were not overwhelmed. We played on a par and were, at times, even superior.”

After facing Inter, Milan return to Europa League action against AEK Athens before hosting Genoa.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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