Massimiliano Allegri admits “it’s my last Christmas at Milan and the last four months were disastrous.”
The Coach hopes 2014 can bring improvements and starts out by welcoming youth into his side, as today 15-year-old support striker Hachim Mastour and 15-year-old midfielder Manuel Locatelli join stars like Mario Balotelli and Ricky Kaka in training.
“The last four months in Serie A were disastrous,” confessed Allegri to Sky Sport Italia.
“In 2014 we are focusing on a great Champions League campaign. I am confident, even though Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo will be suspended for the first leg against Atletico Madrid.
“Plus there is the Coppa Italia to play for and in the League third place is a long way off, but we’ll do everything possible.”
In another interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Allegri acknowleged this is his final term at San Siro.
“I could’ve been the Coach who earned Milan’s second star, their 20th Scudetto. A phantom goal played a decisive role in my second Rossoneri season. We were not very lucky.”
He was referring to the infamous Sulley Muntari goal that crossed the line without being spotted by officials in their draw with Juventus.
“I leave a good team that earned the love of the fans. A team that with a few adjustments will have a future.
“The real regret is that I never had all the players at my disposal. The first choice full-backs were practically never available at the same time. We didn’t make mistakes in the medical staff, as we consulted with some of the best specialists in the world and it makes me angry that our doctors are under attack.
“I have always worked with enthusiasm and will continue right to the end. Why am I leaving? I decided the day it was made official I’d remain for one more season. I liked the idea of staying and finishing the job, but four years in one club is a long time.”
Clarence Seedorf is heavily tipped to be Allegri’s successor, despite having no management experience.
“I don’t know who will be the next Milan Coach and it’s not my problem. I can be certain this is my last Christmas at Milan, but I got there despite many people doubting I’d manage that.
“Seedorf gave a great deal in his penultimate season at Milan. He’s a great player, but I’d have loved to work with him when he was 28 rather than 35.”
There are other new arrivals, as Keisuke Honda and Adil Rami have joined from CSKA Moscow and Valencia respectively.
“I think they were good buys. The club is working well, is building the team also for next season so that we won’t need too many adjustments.
“As for Balotelli, this year will be good for his future. He will improve a great deal, has enormous potential and will also be crucial for the World Cup.”
Allegri was asked about rumours he is the favourite to take over from Cesare Prandelli on the Italy bench after Brazil 2014.
“What do I say about the colour Azzurro? It brings the sun, which makes you happy when you wake up in the morning.... The Nazionale has a great Coach who has brought wonderful results and can have a great World Cup.”