Monday January 6 2014
Allegri: 'Don't rush Cristante'

Massimiliano Allegri warned against hyping Bryan Cristante and doesn’t “particularly care” who replaces him at Milan.

The Coach spoke to Sky Sport Italia after a 3-0 win over Atalanta, in which Kaka scored twice and 18-year-old Cristante netted on his first Serie A start.

“I had already considered Cristante for the Derby and the game against Roma. Let’s not forget he is very young, as he’s only 18.

“Andrea Poli has done very well so far, but it was important to have him with fresh legs in the later stages when he can change gear. Mario Balotelli was on the bench as he had flu for two days.

“Cristante has improved a great deal over the last two months, I put my faith in him and in moments of difficulty the younger players can bring that extra sense of joy to their football.

“Cristante is a young player who must be given time to grow without pressure. Obviously at Milan you have to grow up quicker. Last season Niang was treated by some like a phenomenon, but he’s just a teenager, so there are bound to be peaks and troughs. The same is true of Gabriel, as after one game the media said Milan had found their goalkeeper for the next 15 years, then a week later he was considered hopeless. There needs to be a balance.”

Despite the scoreline, Atalanta had several good chances and rattled the woodwork and before kick-off Allegri had called this a relegation dogfight.

“There was only one point separating us in the standings, so that was what the table told us. We were only five points clear of the bottom three.

“Atalanta had two or three scoring opportunities in the second half, but I wouldn’t say we regularly give away many chances to our opponents.

“It’s normal we should’ve defended better, but Atalanta are a strong side and Christian Abbiati did well. We could’ve comfortably ended the first half leading 2-0, but then scored twice during our worst moments of the match.”

Allegri was asked about the January transfer window after Adriano Galliani confirmed Milan will not be signing Radja Nainggolan.

 “I spoke to the club, they know what I’d like to improve the squad. So far the club has done great things and I’m sure they will reinforce the squad in January. People seem to think we’re dead and buried in the Champions League, but we can take on Atletico Madrid.”

This week Allegri announced he will walk away at the end of the season, but insists this deadline won’t affect the team.

“I am a professional and so are the players. The fact I announced I won’t be Milan Coach next season makes no difference, as we must all keep giving our best. I had made the decision over the summer and kept it to myself for a while, but the next five months are very important to help Milan go far in Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia.

“After all, Bayern Munich have already announced Robert Lewandowski will be joining them next season, yet nobody claims he shouldn’t play for Borussia Dortmund. In Italy we’re a bit behind the times in that sense.

“I don’t particularly care who will be the Milan Coach next season. I’m sure they will choose someone worthy of the job and worthy of replacing his predecessor, which is me.”

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