Sinisa Mihajlovic says no one understood why he was sacked from Milan but holds no hard feelings as he prepares to meet Gianluigi Donnarumma and others next Sunday for the season opener.
Mihajlovic took over last summer but was sacked right before the end of the season and was replaced by Cristian Brocchi. The former midfielder was replaced as well and on Sunday Vincenzo Montella will have his Serie A debut as Milan’s coach.
The man Montella faces on the season opener is Mihajlovic who is now the coach of Torino. Miha, 47-years-old, gave an interview to Monday’s edition of the sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport speaking about his time at Milan among other things.
“We start the season at San Siro against Milan? I’ll have double the motivation to look good and pick up our first points in the championship,” he said. “If I’m still angry about the sacking of last season? I was never angry, only disappointed and embittered. But I bear no hard feelings.
“My conscience is clean and time is always a gentleman. I left Milan in Europe & in the Coppa final, and you all know how the season ended. We had ups and downs, but the group was united and they gave everything. I had an excellent relationship with Galliani. Nobody understood my sacking, not the fans, nor the team. I never received so many astonished phone-calls and expressions of solidarity.
“Berlusconi has sold Milan to the Chinese [the deal will be completed by the end of 2016 for €740 million]? I can imagine how hard that must have been for him. He wasn’t just the most winning president in the world for 30 years, but also the number one fan of Milan. The problems emerge when these two roles are not enough for you and want to do more… even be the coach.
“If he wanted to the decide the formation? Let’s say that he didn’t hide his ideas. But Milan’s formation was always my own doing. I was sorry to hear some of his statements after my sacking, they were so exaggerated that they were hardly believable. I knew the last Berlusconi, and I wish I’d known the first. But I thank him for the opportunity, and I wish him the best for his future.
“I’ll face many of my former players like Donnarumma [to whom he gave his debut last season]? I’ll say a fond hello to all of them. Gigio will give Gigi [Buffon] a turnover in the national team. If he remains humble, then the next 20 years will be marked by his extraordinary talent.
“Juventus are likely to steal the show in Turin? Juve have an exceptionally strong team. If they keep up their sporting anger, they’ll win the sixth Scudetto. But being the super-favourites isn’t helpful, and they can lose energies as they fight to the end in the Champions League. They’ll be submerged in criticism as soon as they draw a game, never mind when they lose both their derbies against us…
“The two Milan clubs are now in the hands of Chinese? It’s strange but it’s modern football. I’m happy to have an Italian President who is ambitious and really loves Torino. For now, there is great harmony on everything: the mercato, objectives, the future. Then, as always – it takes results.”