Vincenzo Montella admits Milan “looked really bad” against Lazio but insists their 4-1 defeat was not down to his tactics.
Montella's persistence with a 4-3-3 formation has come under fire following the result, with Hakan Calhanoglu also appearing to suggest he was being played out of position, but the Coach believes the Rossoneri were not strong enough mentally against the Aquile.
“It was a bad defeat, we’ve slept badly,” he told Milan TV.
“But I think that we can learn from it and grow as a team, as well as individually in our approach to games.
“Analysing and reviewing it, we deserved to lose, but we only had - and I say only, compared to the result - 15 minutes when we completely disconnected, in their first and last goal between the first and second half, and that was our biggest failing.
“We started the game in a clear way and played like that in the middle of the second half. Then, in the last 15 minutes, there was a surge, albeit a sterile one, on our part.
“Lack of reaction? It resolves with time, hard work and a touch of humility. There’s no lack of desire from the players, but there was a sluggishness and a lack of confidence. We have to work on this.
“There were two months when we made a lot of signings and, above all, we received all the plaudits. This has obviously distracted us a bit.
“It can be physiological. Now we’ve understood that Italian football is like this, that you need to suffer and you can’t always try to play better than your opponents. Substance counts for more.
“What’s missing? The team started the game with an impressive authority, but we lack the ability to understand of what type of game we’re facing, even within the same match. We must learn to suffer and be a bit more pragmatic.
“When I lose, I like to analyse and understand where I went wrong or where I could’ve done more, and yesterday there were so many things where I could’ve done more.
“Certainly, tactics are the last area [of criticism] because I don’t believe the formation was that much of a problem.
“Defence against Austria Vienna? We must become more versatile and learn to change our style, even during a match.
“Not everyone remembers, perhaps, but we’ve already played three at the back with other players in the Europa League.
“Romagnoli was there, and he’s the only left-sided centre-back we have in the squad. We’d planned to revert to the three if we could try it out in training first.
“What do I expect on Thursday? I expect a reaction from my team. We owe it to ourselves, the club and the fans. I won’t make it more of a drama more than it needs to be.
“We looked really bad, but I want to see a confident attitude and the necessary hunger to play at certain levels.”