Fiorentina Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic concedes his men did all they could, “but Milan deserved to win tonight.”
The Serie A leaders emerged with a 2-1 result from the Stadio Franchi, although a late Juan Manuel Vargas goal and Zlatan Ibrahimovic red card made it a tense finale.
“We were too timid in the first half, then improved after the break, but Milan deserved to win tonight,” said Mihajlovic.
“I could not have asked for a better attitude from my lads, but the truth is Milan are the strongest team we've faced this season.
“Players were tired towards the end and we were unable to play down the wings the way I wanted to.
“When 2-0 down we risked conceding a third, but instead opened up the game for the final stages, so we had the right approach.”
Ibrahimovic left the Rossoneri with 10 men after insulting the assistant referee over a throw-in decision.
“Perhaps at that moment he was not calm because he feared letting the victory slip through his fingers.”
Fiorentina once again failed on the big occasion, as the top clubs have tended to rail-road them this season.
“We still have Juventus next Sunday and can beat them,” insisted Mihajlovic. “We went close a few times, but were always lacking something.”