Ahead of the Coppa Italia semi-final with Juventus, Max Allegri declares Milan are not in crisis and defends Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his weekend dismissal.
Defeat to Lazio and a draw at home to Napoli may see the Rossoneri still just a point behind League leaders Juve, but they have now played a game more than their Turin rivals.
Ahead of welcoming Antonio Conte’s side to San Siro in midweek for the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final, Allegri looked to first deny that the red half of Milan is struggling.
“Right now we have to stay calm and focused on what we do in the field,” began the Coach. “Without getting distracted by what is said outside of Milanello.
“This is not a moment of crisis. There have been some bad results but also on Sunday Juventus drew at home and we are therefore still in line.”
The former Cagliari Coach is still wary of the threat Juventus represent on Wednesday night.
“The first thing that catches the eye is that they are team with character, all the players show this with their availability and nature and this competition is their first chance to win something important.
“If after 20 rounds they have not lost then it means that Juventus have excellent quality.
“They are doing well but in the end to win a Scudetto it is always the same, you need to reach around 82-83 points.
“Tomorrow will be important for us to win or at least do well in, so as not to endanger the chance of progressing to the final. We want to get to the final of the Coppa Italia.”
Allegri prepares for the match with Ibrahimovic available, but he is facing doing without him for the team’s next three League matches after the Swede’s red card for violent conduct at the weekend.
“Ibrahimovic has paid a little bit for everyone,” he reflected in defence of his forward.
“Unfortunately Ibra has made a not-so-wonderful gesture in going to the defence of [Antonio] Nocerino. We have seen similar incidents in games go unpunished, but we are hopeful on the appeal.
“We can cope without him now as apart from [Antonio] Cassano and [Alexandre] Pato, everyone is available, so I am not worried.”
Where counterpart Conte refused to comment too much on the situation with Ibrahimovic, Allegri showed no qualms in stirring the pot with regards Beppe Marotta’s complaints from the weekend.
The Bianconero director general’s statements on Monday have caught attention in the Press, after he suggested that referees need to be better assigned to games.
“I do not know what has prompted these statements from Marotta, but at Milan I have a different style,” commented the 44-year-old tactician.
“Here we talk about helping referees, instead of raising a fuss at the first unfavourable decision.”