Riccardo Montolivo and Ignazio Abate believe Milan’s weakness has been their approach and want to qualify to Europe but not by finishing in 6th.
The Rossoneri can be in Europe next season even if they finish in 6th place this season but the squad of Sinisa Mihajlovic, who at the start of the year targeted a Champions League spot, doesn’t want to qualify that way and would return fight until the end to get to 4th or 5th place in Serie A come the end of May.
Tomorrow Milan play Lazio at San Siro and Miha will welcome back Riccardo Montolivo who is back in the squad after missing the last two matches in which the team lost to Sassuolo and drew Chievo.
“Keeping balance in the good times and also in the not so good times? The advantage of having experience allows me to be balanced and I have always been myself,” Montolivo said today. “The people who are saying that I’m missed on the pitch are the same people who said the opposite thing.
“Comments and opinions are often a result of an incorrect analysis, usually done in the heat of the moment. I am only focused on looking ahead. 2013 when we made a comeback to return to the CL? That season we finished third and we were able to stay fully focused throughout the second part of the season.
“This year we haven’t managed to do it. This Milan team has dropped off in the past two games and for players at Milan this is unacceptable, even if it was unintentional. At Milan, a nine-game unbeaten run should be seen as the norm. We’re disappointed not to be able to fight for third place, but we have paid the price for our mental approach in the past two games with Sassuolo and Chievo.
“The team that finished third wasn’t better technically than this Milan side, but stronger from a mental standpoint. There was a different mental approach. We have to do more.”
Abate, who attacked the team’s approach after the draw at Chievo, also spoke at the pre-match press conference today: “The match with Chievo? Our weakness has been our concentration levels, which have fluctuated. But we don’t want to throw away all the good work we have done so far this season. We have two aims now: qualify for Europe, but not by finishing sixth in the table, and to win the TIM Cup.
“We have enjoyed a good week of training going into the game with Lazio (20:45 CET kickoff) and we need to follow it up with a great display tomorrow. I’ve spoken with my teammates and we all have the same mindset. I agree with Riccardo that we have the qualities to do well.
“At Milan, a 4-5 game winning run should be seen as the norm but we need to make the step-up mentally. We have been working really well from a tactical standpoint with the coach. We are lacking however when it comes to the mental approach and consistency with our results.
“The coach has brought a strong work ethic, rules and there have been no problems in training. Starting each season from scratch is not easy for anyone, especially for a group like ours.”