AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella has been told by club bosses to instil a winning mentality into his team following the 2-0 defeat to Sampdoria.
Montella has come under fire after Milan were beaten by Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday to leave them sixth in the table.
He was summoned for a meeting with club bosses Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli on Monday morning, and afterwards he told Milan TV that he has been reminded of his and the team’s responsibilities.
“I think the criticism has been objectively correct and we’ve spoken about it today,” he said. “We all agree — the management, the coach, the players and the staff — that it was a performance which was below the level of AC Milan right now against inferior opponents, so I above all need to work out what that was down to.
“I’ve spoken with the club first and then with the players, and then all together. We know that we need to build a winning mentality quickly. There are many ways to get there, but we are Milan and we have big objectives that we want to reach.
“It’s not about finding who is to blame. The club management have just told me to intervene to ensure there are no more games like this, without talking to me about systems and players, though.
“I think we need to work on consistency and our approach because you build a winning mentality step by step, sometimes tripping up on the way. But I think if we’re intelligent and clever, we can increase the level of our mentality and competitiveness.”
Sunday’s defeat was only Milan’s second of the season after 11 games — the other nine all having been won.
The reaction from club bosses has highlighted how high their expectations are this season after a summer in which over €200 million was spent in the transfer market.
Milan face Rijeka in their second Europa League group fixture on Thursday, having won 5-1 at Austria Vienna in their first outing.
In Serie A, they are just a point behind Lazio in the fourth and final qualifying berth for next season’s Champions League. Milan face Roma and Inter Milan in their next two league fixtures.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.