Saturday January 25 2014
Seedorf: 'Milan need patience'

Clarence Seedorf welcomed Michael Essien and warned Milan “need patience” ahead of a tricky trip to Cagliari.

The Serie A tie kicks off on Sunday in Sardinia at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

The new Coach has had a mixed start to his career, earning a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Genoa and crashing out of the Coppa Italia quarter-finals 2-1 to Udinese on Wednesday.

“The team is showing a great desire to work and emerge from this difficult moment,” assured Seedorf in his Press conference.

“We had 10 players suffering from flu symptoms over the last few days, but yesterday a few returned to training. I don’t want to risk anyone.”

The headlines were dominated by the arrival of Essien from Chelsea, as he underwent his medical this morning.

“I know him well. He has great character and is a great player. He’s a man and a warrior who really wants to make his mark ahead of the World Cup. He’ll bring qualities both on and off the field. Essien can play very well in the two midfielders in front of the defence.”

It has been a mixed bag since replacing Massimiliano Allegri, but Seedorf warns “even the best Coaches in the world need time to build their teams. I need to get to know the players and vice-versa so we can plan on how to improve certain aspects.

“Allegri tried to give his all, but the results did not arrive. The team has difficulties, but this can be an opportunity to see where to improve. I ask for patience in order to help everyone do better.”

So far down the Serie A standings and out of the Coppa Italia, it’s likely Milan won’t qualify for Europe.

“Our objective is to find the determination and strength to improve the results. I came here to help the reconstruction process, but it takes time and we don’t have a specific date for when the results will come. Beautiful football will come as a consequence, but my objective right now is to give the group the right sense of calm to face a difficult situation.

“I am the first to understand how the fans feel, but in the past we’ve already seen great clubs go through these moments. We are here to work and bring enthusiasm back to the supporters. We need that warrior spirit that never gives up.

“Thoughts of fear do not help us. How many teams haven’t played the Champions League for a year? It’s no shame. We need to approach this moment realistically, otherwise we just have this psychological weight that does not help matters. We’d all love to reach the Champions League, but realistically we are 22 points away from those places.”

Cagliari have Mauricio Pinilla available again after his two-match ban was reduced on appeal, but the Stadio Sant’Elia still only allows 5,000 fans in due to reconstruction work.

“Cagliari have always provided a difficult test, as they know each other well and we respect them. We know what we have to do and respect their quality on home turf,” continued Seedorf.

“I won’t create much mystery around my line-up, as a side like Milan can’t really do that. Robinho will start. Keisuke Honda will probably play, but he must be patient, as Serie A is of a very high level in tactical terms. There is another approach compared to other countries.”

Seedorf also had a long meeting with joint-CEO Barbara Berlusconi on Friday.

“It was a presentation of the people in various areas, she explained the future projects where Milan want to relaunch the international brand with marketing projects. It helped me understand where Milan want to go. The better the understanding along strategic lines, the better the results will be.”