Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with Milan’s victory and clean sheet against Sampdoria, revealing his half-time team talk.
“We won a difficult and important game, as we needed this win after three matches with just two points,” he said of the 1-0 win.
“We also kept our first clean sheet and ran few risks, aside from a header in the first half and some long-range shots we could’ve avoided.
“We had started fairly well and got to the by-line, but then had the final pass wrong. We started the second half much better and could’ve had a second goal while defending in an organised fashion.”
Milan seemed a different team after the break and scored within 120 seconds of the restart, so did Allegri give them the hairdryer treatment?
“There was no need to shout. At the moment when things are going badly you just need to reassure the lads. They have been putting in the effort and it’s a question of centimetres between a goal and a wasted chance.
“I think the players should be complimented, as even in difficulty and tired they were able to control the game.”
Valter Birsa had been criticised by fans recently, but scored his first goal in a Rossoneri jersey.
“He is a good player with good technique who had already played well against Bologna and Napoli. Obviously when the team loses then some players are likely to get blamed. He arrived from Genoa at the last moment and few knew him, but he can belong at Milan.
“I have a good squad at my disposal and we started badly in Serie A, but we are getting back on track. We’ll now prepare for the Champions League and then Juventus.”
Cristian Zaccardo was a surprise starter at right-back, as Ignazio Abate was rested.
“I know Zaccardo doesn’t have Abate’s characteristics, but he was exhausted and I preferred to rest him, especially as he was coming off an injury. Zaccardo did well when pushing forward, even though he’s not used to it.”
The Curva Sud was closed as punishment for anti-Neapolitan chants, but San Siro risks an entire ban as ultras protested outside the stadium with more insulting banners and there were some racist chants within the arena.
Allegri was asked whether Milan ought to distance themselves from these fans, especially as the ultras had a meeting with the squad on Friday at their training ground.
“The ultras came to salute the team yesterday and encourage them, just as they did last season during a tough moment. In my four years at Milan the Curva has been exemplary. There has always been mockery and it will always be there.
“We are improving in this sense, but as time goes on I hope there will be a better approach to fandom for those who come to the stadium.”