AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella says he did not want to make a scapegoat out of former fitness coach Emanuele Marra, but he needed to take some action following the 2-0 defeat to Sampdoria which left his own job at risk.
Marra was sacked by Montella on Tuesday due to what the coach said on Twitter was a difference of opinion over training methods.
Montella was asked at a news conference ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with Rijeka why he had taken such measures, and he stressed it was not because Marra was the root of all the problems.
“I can’t say any more, but he’s not the scapegoat,” Montella said. “I’ve taken risks for him and with him, but there was no longer the same vision and the right energy to give something to the team.
“I feel I know plenty about methodology and we were not using winning ones and you need to change something when you want to get back to being competitive. We need to turn the page. It was a difficult decision.
“I want to point out that Marra was not the problem. It’s normal to have differences of opinion on certain aspects. My staff are my family and he is a brother and I wish him all the best, and he knows that I like him.”
Milan captain Leonardo Bonucci said that he must also assume some of the responsibility for the club’s second defeat of the season.
“I’m not happy with myself and I’ve committed several mistakes,” he said. “I want to respond on the field to all that has been said. I’ve always taken criticism as a motivation to improve. I’ve done that since I arrived at Milan and I’ll continue to do that.”
Milan face Rijeka at the San Siro on Thursday and will be hoping to make it two wins from two in the Europa League group stage following the 5-1 defeat of Austria Vienna earlier this month.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.