This is what AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri has said ahead of the match against Genoa: “I lived many years in Sardinia, both as a player and manager, and I’m sure that they will find a way to come out of this tragic moment. I have a strong connection to this land, so I’m happy that the revenue of our charity event will go to them”.
What about Genoa? “We need the three points because we’re far behind in the ranking. We still haven’t won a match since we beat Udinese. We’ll need to focus carefully to have our way against Genoa, they are good team with quality players and a competent manager like Gasperini, who makes them play at their best”.
Could Kakà play in front of the defenders? “I think he could, but when he played in that position in Bern, it was only an experiment since for me, he could surely play there with the quality that he has. We’ll see about tomorrow because he was hit in a tackle together with Zaccardo, who also remained injured”.
Who will play with Balotelli? “I will have to choose between Matri and Robinho”.
Will we see Bonera in action again? “I’m going to call him, but Zapata and Mexes will play tomorrow”.
Constant or Emanuelson? “Constant could become useful as an inside-left during the match, because we don’t have many midfielders at hand”.
What will be the decisive moment? “There are seven matches before the stop and we have to rise up in every way we can both in Serie A and in Champions League. Tomorrow’s match will be decisive, because we haven’t won a match in Serie A for too long”.
Are you a “good guy? “I’ve never been one. We need motivation to collect some points. If we win tomorrow, we’ll be able to play in Champions with more confidence”.
What can you say about the poor performances from the strikers? “Pazzini and El Shaarawy are out with injuries since a long time, Balotelli’s been out for a while due to disqualification. Of course, they have to improve. Mario has been training hard since he came back from international duty. He wants to come out of this tough moment just like we all do”.
What criteria will you use to choose between Robinho and Matri? “When they played together, Matri and Balotelli did well against Naples, they can play well together. They have different and complementary qualities. But Binho is doing well, also in his national team. Tomorrow, however, we’ll need to be angry and competitive all together. Tomorrow will be decisive”.
“We only have 13 points, we have to stop this negative trend. We must face reality and the ranking: every opponent is tough. We need to be strongly focused: extreme concentration, no mistakes. Because we’ll pay the price for every mistake”.
Why is Balotelli always smiling when he plays with the Italian national team? “I think it has to do with the fact that the national team is a short break, seven or ten days away from normal life. AC Milan, like any other team, is an everyday reality where he’s always under lots of pressure”.
And what about the fans? “We’ll have to attract our fans tomorrow. If we won’t do anything good in ninety minutes, then they’ll be free to criticize us”.
What do I expect from this match? “Only to win it, because winning makes you see things from a better perspective. The match against Chievo would have been a success if we’d won it, but it wasn’t like this. The result has its influence on everybody’s opinion”.
Who will be more decisive, the individual or the team? “We need to play as a team because it’s the team that brings out the individual’s performance”.
How’s El Shaarawy? “He’ll be training again with us next week. Then he’ll need at least one month to find his best physical condition. From January on, he and De Sciglio will be very important for us. Stephan was decisive last season both with his goals and his performances. He’s got great quality and he plays in a specific role: left winger”.
Are the words of ex Milan players and managers bothering you? “They’re not. Life is made of cycles and this is my fourth year here. No manager lasts forever. Today there are many young managers with the ambition to be in charge of great clubs. Inzaghi’s doing well with the youth squad, Seedorf’s still playing. And then there are many others in Italy who would have to confront themselves with great teams if they were chosen”.
Do you have to rise through the ranks in order to become a great manager? “Mancini is very good and he didn’t have to do that, but I’m proud of having made a path which has taken me through nearly all the minor leagues. I have a profound link to my past experiences”.
What do you think about the current situation of the board? “It doesn’t concern me or the team. We have to think only to the league and to make everything clears up. Let’s not forget that AC Milan is still the most successful club in the world in terms of international competitions won “.
Who will take Montolivo’s place? “I have only three midfielders: De Jong, Poli and Muntari, apart from Constant who can also play as an inside-left. Riccardo is a fantastic player, but tomorrow we’ll have to win, no matter who’ll play. They all need to know the importance of winning this match, both who’s going on the pitch and who’s going on the bench”.
Will El Shaarawy be called for the match against Celtic? “It might be. As for De Sciglio, he could be back against Catania”.