Vincenzo Montella discussed Carlos Bacca, Riccardo Montolivo, Davide Calabria and Manuel Locatelli among other things after the Rossoneri defeated Lazio 2-0.
For the first time since February, Milan managed to get back-to-back Serie A wins and they did so with a 2-0 win over Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio on Tuesday night.
The Rossoneri didn’t do too well in the first half but in the 37′ minute, Lazio’s Marco Parolo made a mistake in the middle of the park to allow Kucka steal the ball and the Slovak managed to send it to Bacca who rarely fails to beat the goalkeeper in this type of opportunity. The second half was much better from Milan and they scored their second through a Niang penalty in the 74′ minute.
Milan are still not playing the football the fans and the coach would like to see but it’s a good win nonetheless as the Diavolo – at least until tonight – are in 3rd place with 9 points out of 15.
“I am happy, we are all proud for what we have done,” Montella told Milan TV at the end of the match after Davide Massa’s final whistle at the San Siro. “The team is improving and everybody wants to do well, also those who are not playing that much, and this is surely positive.
“We have won these two difficult matches (against Sampdoria away 1-0 on Friday night and Lazio last night) and it was well deserved, although now we have to focus on the next two games against Fiorentina and Sassuolo who won’t be at all easy. It’s always a continuous test.
“We are growing as a group you can see our improvement in the past two matches. We always have to perform like this, it must be something natural. We want to think positive. The defeat against Udinese brought us back with our feet on the ground. The spirit is seen in the field. We can still improve.
“Calabria (who replacing Ignazio Abate)? Davide comes from the Youth Team. He is young and has to improve. On Tuesday he did well and he can be very useful for us. I’m happy we kept him. Paletta? He has been playing in Italy for a few years. Fiorentina and I already wanted him in my team when he was younger but the cost was high. He has great physicality but manages to play the ball with great fluidity. He is improving a lot. I am very pleased with this performance and I am not surprised.
“Montolivo? I don’t know if the fans picked on him. He was part of the starting XI because he played a great match against Samp. It’s normal that our top players are always at the center of attention. Riccardo can also play as a mezz’ala (internal midfielder) and his role is not a problem.
“How far can Milan go? We can’t think about it now. We must enjoy this victory and start thinking to our next match. The league has only just started.
Speaking in the post-match presser, Montella said: “It’s an important step forward and we won against a great team. We suffered a bit and it wasn’t spectacular but we were the superior side. After the Udinese match we conceded little and we have to grow in preventive marking although we were very careful on Tuesday. Continuity? Together we will improve, we have to be a bit more optimistic.
“The defensive organization has improved, we gave away little to Lazio, who have important players. I am satisfied. We didn’t deserve defeat against Udinese and it’s still a defeat that gives me trouble. Our competition? It’s not only Inter but also Lazio, Fiorentina and Sassuolo.
“Montolivo? He played because he had a good game against Sampdoria, he’s the captain and it’s normal that he’s one of the most criticized. He can do well as a mezz’ala. The mobility of the players? Lazio were man-marking so the forwards had to move a lot and go where there were spaces.”
Speaking to Sky Italia, the 42-year-old added: “There is contentment and when you win everything is fine. We must try to be balanced. I saw a cohesive group that is becoming a team. The players who play less are contributing and in the long run it will be beneficial for Milan and for themselves.
“The standings? We’re sorry about the loss to Udinese which we didn’t deserve and a draw in that match would have been valuable. There are other things to look at them the rankings. The players deserve the compliments, despite the fact that we didn’t play a fluid match in the first half. The results help them and help Milan, as well as help me. Bacca? In the first game he scored 3 goals, then he didn’t get a lot of chances. The team is with him, he sacrificed himself and he did well.
In an interview with Mediaset Premium, Montella said: “Bacca? Carlos is doing great things, but the team is putting him in a position to do that. We have the chance to grow many players behind him. I am happy when Bacca performs the way he did on Tuesday, but I am also happy with the team spirit, which is growing. Everyone contributes and even those who didn’t play still helped their teammates. Carlos is a Milan player and the best we did in the market was not selling players.
“Lapadula and Bacca together (against Samp Gianluca was played over Carlos)? They can play together but in this game system it’s difficult to turn one of them to a winger. I’m glad to have these players, there’s also Luiz Adriano for example who plays little and I’m sorry for that. We will need everyone. Calabria and Locatelli? If you wear the Milan shirt, then it means that you have the quality to do it. They are both inexperienced but they have great personalities to hold their own in this team.
“It is difficult to play against Lazio, as they are very physical. We controlled the game by half-time and could’ve finished it off a lot earlier in the second half. The standings? I am still irritated by our defeat to Udinese, as a draw would’ve been fair so we are missing a point.
“I like our current position in the table, but unfortunately the others still have a game in hand… we have to be balanced in the judgement of the team and grow as a team. I don’t have a magic wand. The squad still needs to understand me and we must grow together. We still lack the mental freedom to play that champagne football I am looking for. We’ll get there step by step.
“The players need to free their minds and the last two victories will help us to play without so much pressure on us, especially at San Siro.” The next match is away, against Fiorentina on Sunday.