Friday August 23 2013
Allegri doesn’t feel under exam

Massimiliano Allegri doesn’t think he is under any extra pressure after he almost lost his job as Milan boss during the summer.

The tactician looked all set to be replaced at Milanello at the request of President Silvio Berlusconi, but he was confirmed in the role after a number of crunch talks.

“I don’t feel under examination, absolutely not,” he said on the eve of his side’s Week 1 fixture at Verona. “Once the games that count start then a Coach has to begin collecting results.

“He is in charge of the group so if things go wrong then he is the first one who is questioned. This is my fourth season at Milan and I’m happy with what I have done so far.

“I spoke to Berlusconi yesterday and also before the PSV game. We often speak and we are all close to him during this difficult time.”

Milan have had a relatively quiet summer on the transfer front so far, but Allegri is confident that he is in charge of a competitive side which includes Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy.

“I don’t know if we are stronger than last season,” he added. “Juventus are still Scudetto favourites, but the championship is a long one.

“We’ve been working together for a year and we now know each other better. The players need to grow, as does the team as a collective.

“Balotelli is still young. He has worked well up until this point. He could potentially get 25-30 goals this season, it all depends on him. But don’t forget that he is still just a 23-year-old.”

Turning his attention to Verona, Allegri showed the newly promoted outfit respect while sharing some thoughts on his own starting XI.

“Verona have Luca Toni, they are a side who don’t offer you much and they will be playing with great enthusiasm.

“We’ll need to play with our heads and technique, in the knowledge that you can win games in the 90th minute.

“I’ll decide tomorrow whether Nigel De Jong or Antonio Nocerino will play alongside Andrea Poli and Riccardo Montolivo in midfield.

“It’s likely that Ignazio Abate will start at right-back seeing as Mattia De Sciglio hasn’t played a game for a while.”

Allegri was also questioned on the transfer market, specifically his club’s reported interest in Juventus striker Alessandro Matri.

“I had two beautiful years with him in Cagliari, he’s done well at Juventus where he has made a difference. However, the club is looking after market matters and they know what they are doing.”

Milan Squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola; Abate, Constant, De Sciglio, Mexes, Silvestre, Zaccardo, Zapata; Cristante, De Jong, Emanuelson, Montolivo, Nocerino, Poli; Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Niang, Petagna, Robinho.

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