Riccardo Montolivo says Milan “needed a bit of time to find our true identity” and praises Sinisa Mihajlovic.
The Rossoneri went into the winter break in sixth-place in Serie A, eight points behind their city rivals and League-leaders Inter.
“It was a difficult year because we started from scratch,” Montolivo explained to Milan Channel.
“We are a team in development and we needed a bit of time to find our true identity. We had some problems at the start of the league campaign but then we improved.
“On some occasions we could have done better and with a few more points we could have been in the leading group but I still think that the race is wide open.
“I think this team has a lot of potential and can improve a lot but we have to show it. In January we will have to show what we are really made of.
“The group is very united and we showed that in the difficult moments. Even against Frosinone at the end of the first half we were a goal down and we could have fallen apart, instead we came out with the desire to turn the game around.
“The group is united and we work hard and I am convinced the results will come. The credit for this must go to the Coach, Mihajlovic is a more complete coach than he was five years ago, his staff is very well prepared and he is a Coach you can count on.
“Coaching Milan is not so easy and he has also found it hard at times, just as we have, but I also believe he has left his mark on the team.
“He has kept us all together, he has given us a style of play and I think he is a complete coach.”
Montolivo also spoke about the aims for the rest of the season, and warned the road to the Coppa Italia final is not easy, despite facing Carpi and one of Alessandria or Spezia.
“We have the Coppa Italia, which is extremely important for us, everyone says we are already in the final but there are still games to be played.
“No opponent is easy and we will have to work to get there. Then there is the league where we cannot afford to lose any more ground.”