Monday November 5 2012
'It was like starting over again'

Milan midfielder Urby Emanuelson has described the impact losing some of the club's best players had over the summer.

A host of world-class players departed San Siro during pre-season, and the Netherlands international has claimed it was 'like starting over again'.

“A lot of legends left us,” he told BBC Sport. “Some players who had played 10 or 15 years at the club – so of course it was difficult.

“It was a lot like starting over again. And then when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva left, obviously that had a huge impact on our team.”

He also commented on his relationship with countryman Clarence Seedorf, who left to join Botafogo in the off-season.

“The players who left were very, very important to me,” he said. “They helped me a lot in my first year here when it was difficult because I had more of a feeling that I was all by myself.

“It was difficult. I had played at Ajax for 17 years and everything in Milan was new. It was my first time out of Holland in a new city, new club, new people, new food.

“I knew I had to move to become a better player and Clarence helped me a lot from the beginning. I knew him already because our families know each other, and when I came to Milan, he was like my big brother.

“He was always watching out for me and very friendly, but also hard on me when I felt I had to do things better.

“I think it helped me a lot that those kind of players were around me when I was new here.”

The 26-year-old then went on to remark about the Rossoneri's poor start to the season and his own personal performances for the club.

“I know we are in a difficult moment but I feel I can be important for the team and I just want to help.

“I feel that people are expecting more from me now. I want to show I can make Milan better. That is the part that makes me a better player than when I was at Ajax – I have a lot more confidence now.

“There are two sides to our current situation. Of course we feel the pressure from the supporters to do better. People still expect great things from Milan because this is a great club with a great history.

“I think we are the biggest club in Italy.

“But it also feels like an adventure. It is like a new goal – we are building a new team. We have to work really hard but I am not afraid of what lies ahead.”

The Netherlands international concluded by praising Coach Massimiliano Allegri and the team spirit being perpetuated.

“He is dealing with it in a good way. He is very calm and works with us every day.

“It is normal that journalists attempt to get us down but it only makes us stronger. We are growing, we are together. From the Coach to the players and the assistant to the physios – everybody is sticking together.

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