Ignazio Abate not only regrets the defeat to Olympiacos, but also that Milan were in this Europa League situation. “We had the quality.”
The Rossoneri could afford to lose 2-1 in Athens, but still emerged with a 3-1 loss that knocks them out of the competition in the group phase.
“We had started strong and were well set out on the field. The regret is that we went behind, as we should not have conceded the opening goal,” Abate told Sky Sport Italia.
Even then, losing 2-1 would still have been sufficient for Milan to progress, but they were beaten 3-1 by a very controversial penalty.
“Once we got it back on track, they got that penalty. Incidents went against us. We could’ve done better and more importantly reached this final game with qualification already secured, because we had the quality to do that.
“We need to take another step up. Now we must concentrate on Serie A, as we can finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.”
Milan director Leonardo complained about the ball boys throwing extra balls out when Milan were attacking, but also a strange noise over the tannoy system.
“We knew it as a difficult atmosphere to play in, I’m not looking for alibis. There were these odd noises and extra balls coming from the touchline, which is just inconceivable in Europe nowadays.
“Even with all that, we know that we have to improve and had what was needed to progress. We’ve got to improve and develop a winning mentality, believing in ourselves.”