Vincenzo Montella left San Siro with a smile on his face ‘we played a really brilliant game as a top team would do’ in the 4-0 win over Palermo which got Milan to the sixth place in Serie A.
The Rossoneri defeated Palermo with ease on Sunday afternoon as a returning Suso (6′), Mario Pasalic (19′), Carlos Bacca (37′) and Gerard Deulofeu (70′) were on target and gave Milan three precious points.
No one would’ve complained if Milan won the match even 7-0 or 8-0 as they put on a great performance against a wear Rosanero side, and thanks to Crotone, who beat Inter 2-1 at their home turf, the Diavolo leapfrogged past the Nerazzurri just before Saturday’s noon Derby (12:30 CET kickoff). Coach Vincenzo Montella was pleased with what he saw.
“It was a good Sunday,” Montella said to MilanTV and in the post-match press conference. “I am happy with the performance and the attitude: even before the match, you could see how much the boys wanted to bounce back. I asked for aggression and anger and it was there, of course the goal from the free kick helped our game. We played a really brilliant game as a top team would do.
“We could have scored more and this is the only thing we could have done better. Where would Milan be this season without Giacomo Bonaventura [injured until next season] and Suso? I don’t like playing this game, I would rather think about those who have played and have done well anyways.
“I am not looking at how much we have improved compared to last season but how the team and the boys have improved over these months, in this campaign: we’re improving, the players have the right motivation and I am really pleased. We need to show the same attitude until the end of the season.
“Jose Sosa? He’s not injured, he came off with cramps. There’s no problem. Pasalic? It’s a pity he got booked, but this was the most important match [Pasalic will miss the Derby della Madonnina due to this yellow card as he was one yellow away from suspension]. He could have done better in that situation. Calabria? He played really well, for the derby I’ll have several full backs to pick from.
“The Derby? It’s going to be a great game, Inter have really strong players and they will show their pride, but I am happy to play against Inter in this decisive week. Suso and Deulofeu? They are two strong and complementary players, but Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic also are.
“The ‘closing’? Should it happen, I like the idea of Silvio Berlusconi leaving with his Milan in front of Inter in the league,” added Montella whose name in the last days has been linked to a Roma return.
In his interview with Mediaset Premium, Montella said: “We played a great game and I expected this reaction from the team. We had the temperament of a great side and we put in our quality. Considering the chances created, we could have scored a few more goals but I’m very satisfied.
“I liked the attitude which was different compared to the last game. The team felt wounded and reacted well. Today it would’ve been tough for any team to face Milan. We prepare to matches on the basis of our features and those of our opponents, we don’t have a static form.
“Inter’s defeat to Crotone? We also approached Atalanta and in the last two games we made up 4 points in the race with Inter and today we also got points on Fiorentina. I want to go into Europe, regardless of what Inter do. I was optimistic before about Europe and now I’m even more so. The fight is difficult and there are big rivals, but I’m convinced that we’ll get there.
“Are we derby favourites? That’s a media thing, we cannot afford to underestimate Inter. Suso? He’s a major player. Deulofeu is a surprise? Not really, I’ve known him for a long time, he can do even more.”
Speaking to SKY, he said: “I asked for a reaction in the temperamental level and it was there. I’m happy with the performance we offered. Bacca? He played a great game today, I believe he can do more but he had a good game. Deulofeu? We had a zero budget and we missed one with these characteristics, he was on the market and we made a clear choice. We instantly made him feel important. He had a strong desire for revenge for the last few seasons.
“Our injuries? We had a chance to let the boys grow. When serious injuries happen to important players [Montolivo, Jack, Abate etc] you lose something but I like this team because they always try to give their best. It’s a team that excites me because it plays almost all matches like a team.
“The corporate ‘closing’? Our team cannot be disturbed by these things, our club has always been present for us from all points of view and the team cannot give itself an alibi. The Milan of Berlusconi? I’m overjoyed to coach the Milan of Berlusconi and to be given this opportunity. From Saturday it’ll possibly be new owners but the thanks go to Berlusconi & Galliani who led me here.”
Montella had an interview with RAI Italia as well, saying: “We climbed a position in the table and have moved two more points away from Fiorentina so surely it was a positive day for us. From tomorrow we’ll think about the derby which is great match for us.
“It’s a very important game, we’re also playing for the league and not just the derby. For both it’s very important to make it to the Europa League. Inter is very strong and we saw in the first round that in not-the-best condition they managed to equalize against us in the last minute.
“Suso? He’s a very important player, he has had a great season so far. As for his contract extension, I think soon the new owners are expected and they’ll come and then we’ll see. This club works in all aspects and when the new owners will come then we’ll see.
“I would be pleased to stay and continue to coach Milan but I have to figure out what the new management thinks of me,” concluded Vincenzo, who joined Milan last June on a two-year deal.