27 September 2017
The boss and captain Bonucci spoke about our next match against HNK Rijeka
Our Europa League journey continues at San Siro, against HNK Rijeka, on Thursday 28th September, at 9.05 PM. On the eve of the clash, Vincenzo Montella introduced the match in a press conference at Milanello, wishing to move on after the Serie A defeat against La Samp. These were his words in full:
STATE OF MIND
“I want to prove my value, my passion and determination. I am comfortable at the club and I would like to thank the management for all the support. Mirabelli and Fassone allow me to work with full autonomy, they respect my decisions. I am proud to work with them and to be the coach of AC Milan. This is a tough period and it’s in difficult times when I do best. As a player, I had 13 serious injuries and I always fought back to continue playing. When coaching Catania and Fiorentina I also went through tough times and I responded on the pitch. I am sure I will be able to do the same here at AC Milan.
ON HIS CHOICE TO REPLACE FITNESS COACH MARRA
“He wasn’t the problem, but disagreements can happen. He is like a brother to me. It was a very difficult decision for me, and I have made it also to protect the rest of my brothers of the staff. He knows how much I respect him, it’s just that we were not on the same page anymore. These things can happen. I wish him good luck”. On the new fitness coach: “I am waiting for my candidate to reply. Let’s see if he agrees to come. When you want to start something new, you need to make important changes, from a mental standpoint, we need something else”.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SERIE A AND EUROPA LEAGUE
“There are no differences regarding the attitude. Against Sampdoria the team showed they were mentally tired, it was their fifth match in a row. Only a few players are used to playing every three days, this requires special physical and mental strength. I have to work on their mental toughness so they can adapt to this new rhythm in football.
ON THE GAMES TO COME
"HNK Rijeka, Roma and Inter, one after the other. These are very demanding games, difficult ones against direct opponents. Nonetheless, it will also be tough for them. These matches, however, give us extra motivation, I hope they will serve us to continue our improvement".
Our captain Bonucci also spoke from Milanello in the press conference about the Europa League match to come and the critics arrived after the last defeat in Serie A: “We lived 72 intense hours, and it’s normal when you are wearing such an important jersey. What happened in Genova was exactly what we wanted to avoid, but I am motivated, I want to continue playing with this team and to show I am an important player”. On the system of play: “If you look back, you will realise that I have played often in a 4-man defence. With Juve I played a lot with 3 on the back, but also with 4, the boss did not choose to play in a 3-5-2 because of Bonucci, I can perform well or badly with either system of play. Regardless of this, I have to perform at my best as a player and as the leader of this squad. I am not satisfied. I have not been accurate enough but I have the desire to bounce back and respond on the pitch. The critics can be a spur to improve, and I will begin from today.
“How to become a stronger team in difficult times? It is exactly in tough times when we discover our full potential, it allows our mind and body to push ourselves beyond our limits. We have played well in Europe to be fair, we also have to balance the critics, but of course, we want to play well every time and we must give our best on every match.
“Me? A scapegoat? As I said in the past, when I chose to come to AC Milan I knew I would go through good and bad times. I don’t feel like the scapegoat, I feel questioned as it’s natural to be in my position. This is also useful to keep my motivation at its highest, to give 100% instead of searching for excuses.
ADVISING HIS TEAMMATES
"Which is my advice to my teammates? I am angry about the last match, in a reasonable manner. What we spoke inside the dressing room remains between us, and this is what makes a team strong: we have to face each other and accept the healthy competitivity inside the team both, in training and during matches”.
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