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On Saturday, Milan Manager Sinisa Mihajlovic held his pre-match press conference ahead of the rossoneri’s visit from Torino on Saturday. Milan is riding an undefeated streak of eight matches, and coming off a draw at the San Paolo in Napoli, the Serbian hopes they will continue their recent run of form. Here is what the tactician had to say to the media, courtesy of acmilan.com.

With his opening comments, Mihajlovic established the importance of the match against Torino:

Tomorrow we have to try and win at all costs. The next 3 or 4 matches will be crucial for our season. We cannot afford to drop any more points against teams that we should be beating on paper. We need to cut the gap in the table so we are in the running for third place come the final stage of the season. We need to keep on this track. We have picked up draws away at Napoli and Roma while we won at home to Fiorentina and Inter. We need to win tomorrow’s match.

He complimented his squad after earning a draw against Napoli:

The credit is down to the players. They need to keep giving their all while my role here is to manage them.

He also complimented the Toro and showed his respect for the opposing manager, Giampiero Ventura:

Quite rightly, Giampiero Ventura is psyching his players up for the match, which is what I have to do as well. It will be a difficult game. I have a lot of respect for Ventura and I like the way his teams play. Torino are a strong side and they pass the ball around well. Toro are very dangerous in attack and if anyone thinks it will be an easy match tomorrow, they are sorely mistaken.

Mihajlovic also spoke of the previous match with Torino, and laid down his expectations for improvement in this leg of the fixture:

In the corresponding fixture earlier in the season, we threw away the 3 points. They equalised with their first shot on target and we weren’t able to restore our lead. We need to exact revenge for that match. We are a team with spirit. We always believe and are never out of the contest. But we need to improve in killing off matches. For this reason, I continue to repeat that the substitutes play a vital role. You should always try and go for the win. I always expect a lot from those coming off the bench… I try to instill the team with a sense of calm and confidence. Balance is needed in the good and bad times. That applies to the team but also to other areas of the club.

Cristian Zapata, after his strong performance against Napoli and Gonzalo Higuain, earned a great deal of praise from the manager:

Zapata offers something different to the other centre-backs we have available. Based on physical presence and speed, he is one of the best in the world. But sometimes he loses his concentration. I have spoken to him on a lot of occasions and I am happy he is now one of our better performers. I have given him a hard time about staying focused. But like he showed versus Napoli, when he is on his game, there’s no contest.

The rossoneri manager also gave praise to his squad and set his sights on continually improving:

“We have shown that we have nothing to fear when it comes to the sides ahead of us. We just need to pick up more points against the so-called smaller teams. In the first part of the season we struggled against the big teams but we haven’t lost to any in the second half of the season. For us both phases of play are important to us. Even from set pieces we have improved and we are conceding fewer goals compared to the past. From the outside, many might have thought that we would fall apart after the first match with Napoli this season. But being on the inside, I had a different view. I knew we were just missing that little something to turn the situation around. I knew we would manage it. I had hoped to resolve our problems earlier, but I knew I would be able to. The lads did well to never lose belief and to keep on working. We are on the right track.”

He spoke of his group of goalkeepers:

Diego Lopez when he played wasn’t able to perform to his best because of a few injury problems. I then spoke to Abbiati for his opinion when I was thinking about giving Donnarumma his chance. I saw his potential in training, but I was worried about throwing him into the fray too young. I then understood how strong he was mentally. We decided together to hand him his chance and you could see his immense qualities.

He also had comments about Mario Balotelli:

Balotelli did fairly well versus Napoli. It is all down to him. If he plays, he has to always give 100%. He needs to play with the right attitude and the rest will come.

The Serbian also talked about midfielder Andrea Bertolacci:

Bertolacci has had an injury this season which has hampered him. He needs to be shown confidence and he needs to dare a bit more out on the pitch. He is aware of this. He is an important player for us and I am sure he will do well.

He talked about where he wishes the club to be:

In recent years, Milan have been off the pace, but we are always trying to improve, but time is needed to reach certain standards. We also want to be at the levels of Bayern Munich and Barcelona, but they are two teams that are currently on a different planet.

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