Massimiliano Allegri praised Stephan El Shaarawy for his performance in Milan’s 1-1 Champions League draw with PSV.
El Shaarawy scored a potentially decisive away goal in the 1-1 Eindhoven result, while the second leg is on August 28.
The other first leg play-off results are Shakhter 2-0 Celtic, Viktoria Plzen 3-1 Maribor, Lyon 0-2 Real Sociedad and Pacos Ferreira 1-4 Zenit.
“We struggled a little at the start, losing the ball in banal fashion and allowing them easy chances,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“In the second half we controlled the ball better and above all defended better, as in the first half we were too wide between the sections and that allowed passes through.
“It’s a shame, as we had so many chances to seal the win even after the equaliser, so now it’s all open ahead of the second leg.
“If we had won and especially with a two-goal cushion then we would be looking at this match differently.
“Now we have to think about Saturday’s Serie A opener with Verona and only after that worry about the second leg.”
“Compared to last season the team is at a more advanced stage, as they know each other, and I have a few more options at my disposal. I’m also waiting to have De Sciglio, Robinho and Pazzini back from injury.”
This was Mario Balotelli’s Champions League debut in a Milan jersey, as he was cup-tied when joining from Manchester City in January.
“Mario did very well tonight, including off the ball, while of course we all knew his technique and talent.
“Stephan scored a great goal this evening, while Boateng also performed well. Considering it’s our first official game of the season, the team did pretty well.”
This was El Shaarawy’s first competitive goal since the Milan derby in February.
“Stephan had already done well in America. He had an amazing first half of last season and for a 20-year-old it was inevitable he could pay the price for that. He can’t possibly be like that all the time at his age.
“When young, a few blows helps players to grow up and realise to be in a top club you have to notch up years of experience at the highest level rather than just a few months.”
Allegri was also asked about the on-going negotiations with CSKA Moscow for Keisuke Honda.
“Honda? Right now we have to focus on what we’re doing and I’m happy with the lads. We have until September 2 and will see what happens.”