Leonardo Bonucci said Milan did not give 100% against Lazio but claimed the 4-1 loss is a valuable lesson for the future.
Milan lost their defeat match of the season on Sunday and it was a big one as they were defeated by Lazio 4-1 at Stadio Olimpico, with a Ciro Immobile hat-trick.
The Rossoneri received a lot of criticism from fans and pundits and while most of the fire went towards coach Vincenzo Montella, captain Leonardo Bonucci was also heavily criticized; in fact, he was picked the worst player on the pitch by this morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“This mustn’t change our ambitions, but it should serve as a valuable lesson,” the 30-year-old Bonucci told Premium Sport after the final whistle yesterday. “We should’ve been a team unit throughout the game, but that penalty made us crumble. We need to improve in the details. I think we ought to treat this defeat as a healthy slap in the face for everyone. We didn’t have the conviction that we’d hurt Lazio and so when they scored on their first opportunity, it knocked the wind out of our sails.
“Criticism? We weren’t phenomenal before this game and we are not disasters after it [Milan currently have 6 points out of 9]. It’s true we must work to become more of a team unit, to sacrifice ourselves for the whole and always give 100 per cent. In Serie A and Europe, 99 per cent is just not enough.
“The way I see it, defending begins when the opposition first get the ball, it must be done together with aggression – that is what we’re currently missing. It was utopian to think that we’d be a tested super squad working like clockwork from the first day. We must win back balls with malice.
“We have to improve in many areas, enjoy keeping clean sheets and sacrifice ourselves for the team. That isn’t happening. The exchange with Immobile after the game [they were caught arguing]? Some things happened with Immobile, but they were on the pitch and remain on the pitch.”
Speaking to Sky after Gianluca Rocchi’s final whistle, Leo said: “We didn’t give the best of ourselves when we had the ball and when we didn’t have it. We have to grow and it takes time to grow. We became confused after the first chance of Lazio. They are united and this is still something that we are missing to become more of a team, and we can’t allow Milan to suffer defeats like this one.
“What went wrong? We went into confusion after Immobile’s penalty. We have to grow, we are young, and this is my job as an older player to always maintain the team. The mood is low and it’s normal after a defeat of this time. Now we need to roll up the sleeves, think about Thursday, improve every day on the field and in training. No one gives you anything and we have to have more hunger.”
In his MilanTV interview, the summer signing stated: “We have to learn a lot from this defeat. We saw that we if we don’t give 100% then we suffer even more than what we deserve and be severely punished by our opponents. We were mentally drained after the penalty and Lazio hit us hard on the counter attack. We must learn to be a team even in difficulties, we must always give 100%. We were challenged from the start and were unable to react, it’s not good, we must improve.
“We are a new squad. It’s my responsibility and the one of the boss and the management to lead this group to success. Every moment we spend together is important. Tomorrow we’ll have time to reflect on today’s match, our problem was mostly psychological. It will do us good to take a step back. We have to get back to it at the Europa League right away. We need to improve both upfront and behind.
“We need more humility in defense and be more ‘bad’ in the last 30 meters. We must stick together also when playing in the EL, it’s a competition that many in the team have never played in before.”