Montella: 'Milan must protect players'
Vincenzo Montella urged Milan fans and the club to “protect” the players rather than jeer them after the 0-0 draw with AEK Athens.
There were only 17,000 supporters in the crowd at San Siro and they often insulted the squad during this Europa League stalemate.
“It’s a complicated moment, but if we had won then there would be a very different enthusiasm. The team played its game, the opposition was rather locked down and it became difficult as time wore on,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“I think the disappointment and sense of irritation in the stadium was felt by the team and it was due to the three Serie A defeats rather than the performance itself.
“We created many chances and didn’t finish them off against a good side.”
Montella was asked what Milan are missing at the moment.
“We are missing the spark, or even the match. I see the lads want to do more, they want to prove they belong at Milan and that is creating a psychological block. It’s my job to unblock it.”
Director of sport Massimiliano Mirabelli also spoke to the media before kick-off and implied Montella was running short on time to turn this around.
“I have a splendid personal rapport with Massimo. On a professional level, it’s everyone’s right to judge and evaluate. I do not agree that we didn’t step on to the field in the first half against Inter, nor with Sampdoria. I think Milan deserve great credit for dominating Roma for 70 minutes.
“Obviously, we’d all love to see Milan play wonderful football for 95 minutes, but it’s a growth process and I am convinced we’ll get there because most of these players have never worn a jersey like this before and the situation is making them struggle to express themselves.
“I urge the fans and the club to stand by us and above all these players, who need a caress more than to be jeered during this difficult time.
“I agree the first half tonight was not what I was after, as we lacked the determination and aggression needed. Again, it’s a growth process. I would love for the team to have a precise identity in all situations, but it’s not easy and can’t be done overnight.
“If the club decides to close around the team and protect them, we will get to this result earlier. Some of our key players don’t feel confident enough right now to try that extra move or audacious idea. We need to get them to play with more joy and freedom from pressure.
“I am referring largely to our midfielders and wide men, while the strikers must also improve to reach the level we are aiming for.”https://www.football-italia.net/node/111566