Montolivo: “The fault is first and foremost of the players”, Abate: “We need a reaction against Juve”


Riccardo Montolivo believes that everyone is to blame for this situation but mainly the players while Ignazio Abate hopes Milan can show different colours against the Bianconeri.

After getting only 2 points from the last four games, Milan face league leaders Juventus tomorrow and could lose the 6th place this weekend if they fail to win at San Siro and Sassuolo beat Genoa.

The defeat to Atalanta caused coach Mihajlovic to hold a training retreat and in the past few days the squad spent a lot of time together and club captain Riccardo Montolivo and his on-pitch vice Ignazio Abate hope that it will have positive effects on the pitch against Juventus tomorrow (20:45 CET kickoff).

“My physical condition? I am certainly feeling better, but we will have to evaluate the risk of further injury. Today we will assess the situation,” Montolivo said in today’s pre-match press conference.

“The difference between a good player and a great player isn’t in his feet, but rather, in his mentality. There have been players who were technically speaking fairly average, but have had great careers regardless because they were always able to be 100% focused. We have not been good enough in this aspect this season, especially over the past two months. We have held our own against the big teams.

“We haven’t done that well versus the smaller teams. Mihajlovic? The coach has taken his responsibilities and the players have always done the same. It’s us who go on to the pitch and we are all in this together. The faults of the club? It’s not the place to talk about it but if the team hasn’t been able to reach its goals, then everyone is to blame, but first and foremost the players. However, we cannot discard all the work we have done. Fighting with Juventus, Napoli and Roma would’ve been difficult but we could’ve done more.”

Abate added: “We will be facing the best team in Italy, but I think this match comes at the right time. We have to play with a different attitude than the one showed versus Atalanta so we don’t disappoint the coach, the club and our fans who have always supported us.

“I hope we react well and with pride to a week of being in a training retreat. We have all exchanged ideas in a constructive manner this week [in the retreat] and tomorrow will show whether it has been useful or not. Now is not the time to make evaluations, we have to take things one game at a time.

“Tomorrow will be a difficult game and we have to focus solely on that. We are now trying to understand why there wasn’t a reaction following the Chievo game. This week we have identified the problem as a mental one. We have to play with a different attitude in the coming games.”

Abate will play from the start tomorrow and it remains to be seen whether Montolivo will make it. He’s in the squad but if he can’t play then Manuel Locatelli will be given the starting role.

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