Sunday September 10 2017
Montella: 'Milan lack mental strength'

Vincenzo Montella felt Milan “lacked the mental strength to fight back” in a 4-1 defeat to Lazio, but “I’d make these decisions again.”

The Rossoneri had won all six of their competitive games so far this season between Serie A and the Europa League, but capitulated at the first genuinely tough test.

Ciro Immobile bagged a hat-trick before setting up Luis Alberto’s fourth, with Riccardo Montolivo only providing mere consolation.

“It is an ugly defeat and there are many negative elements that came together,” Montella told Mediaset Premium.

“An incident, on a psychological level, changed the game and they slowly took control. Lazio did very well and were clinical in their finishing. We didn’t have the mental strength to fight back, as everyone wanted to transform the game by themselves and not by working as a unit.

“It’s true that right now Lazio are more of a team, inevitably, as they haven’t changed as much as we did this summer. What we learned today is that we are still a way off being complete and in Italian football, you can’t get away with anything.

“I thought on an individual level that Lucas Biglia and Montolivo had good performances. The issues were elsewhere.”

Montella was criticised for his choices at the Stadio Olimpico.

“I would field the same players if I had to make the decisions again. In my view, these were the best players for the situation. Patrick Cutrone is in better shape than the other strikers, Jack Bonaventura was coming back from injury, Hakan Calhanoglu wasn’t at his best, playing for his country with a knock.

“Physically, the team is fine, it was a psychological drop-off after the penalty. When your head isn’t on point, the body won’t follow. My players did run a lot, they just didn’t run effectively.

“It’s a harsh result, but one that will ultimately help us to grow. We lacked aggression, but on a tactical level the differences were minimal.”