Nikola Kalinić is happy with the brace he scored but says the important thing is the team, as he believes Milan can get to next season’s Champions League.
Milan were chasing the likes of Alvaro Morata, Andrea Belotti and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but in the end, they signed Nikola Kalinić from Fiorentina.
Kalinić was a specific request from coach Vincenzo Montella, who wanted the Croatian over Carlos Bacca who was sent to Villarreal. Yesterday against Udinese, it was seen how different the two strikers are as Kalinić was involved in the build-up and tracked back.
On top of all of that, he scored two gritty goals to give Milan the 2-1 win over the Zebrette. Kalinić got a rating of 8/10 from La Gazzetta dello Sport, which makes him the best-rated player.
“I am very happy for scoring a brace, it was a great victory,” Kalinić told MilanTV. “My hat-trick goal was cancelled [due to VAR, which called an offside]? That’s fine, but I don’t focus on who scores, I only care if Milan win. Number of goals at the end of the season? I don’t say a number, let’s see…
“We have to continue like this and prepare for Wednesday because it will be tough. The desire to sacrifice myself for my teammates? We have a fantastic team and everyone wants to win. However, this is just one game, we have to continue the hard work because there is still a long way to go in order to have a great season. The Europa League? It could be our objective, we are so many new players and it could help us to improve. If we want hard enough we can win it.”
Speaking to Sky after the final whistle at Stadio San Siro, the 29-year-old said: “I have to continue this way. On Wednesday, there’s another game and we have to win them all. Being on the bench? The coach decides who plays and I’m always ready, whether it’s for 10 minutes or 90 minutes.
“I always want to play, but it’s difficult since there are many players. What’s important is to win. The formation? On Sunday, we played with two strikers and I like that. What’s important is playing, I don’t look at where. My shirt number? My number is 9 but André Silva had it. The 7 was free and I chose it.”
Kalinić also had an interview with Premium Sport: “I’m happy for the brace, but especially for the team. We have to continue like this. I’m glad, we must continue like this to have a great season. The role? For me the important thing is to play, the coach decides how. One or two strikers doesn’t change much, what’s important is to have balls arriving in the opponent’s area.
“Objectives for the rest of the season? We can get to the Champions League [Milan need a top 4 finish]. We have to look ahead and try to win all the matches. Now we think of Wednesday that will be another difficult game. We’re thinking about one match at a time and then see what happens.”
The squad rotation of Montella will most likely continue on Wednesday when Milan face SPAL home (20:45 CET) as Kalinić could be benched after two straight starts to make room for other forwards.