Former AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has paid tribute to the current incumbent Massimiliano Allegri for winning the club's first Serie A title in seven years.
Milan had last lifted the league crown in 2004 under Ancelotti, who moved to Chelsea in 2009. After Leonardo's unsuccessful spell at Milan, Allegri took over at the beginning of this season and won the Scudetto at the first attempt.
"Massimiliano had clear ideas, he made the most of [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic in the early part of the season and exploited the experience of senior players towards the end. His management was excellent," said Ancelotti, who is currently out of work having been fired by Chelsea at the end of the season.
"Milan could open a new cycle, bringing Ibrahimovic was an intelligent move as were their January acquisitions [Antonio Cassano and Mark van Bommel]. However, in Europe the competitiveness has moved on with respect to the Italian teams."
Allegri has warned Italy forward Cassano not to expect a place in the first team next season, though, and also told young Brazilian Alexandre Pato to improve.
Cassano moved to Milan from Sampdoria in January and although he is an automatic first choice for Italy, Allegri rarely used him from the start.
And the coach says that's not about to change. "He scored four goals and made eight assists and that was after two months of inactivity so I'm happy with him," said Allegri.
"Without taking anything away from Sampdoria, where Antonio was the star alongside [Giampaolo] Pazzini, here at Milan we have many stars and there's a lot of competition so there's a chance he won't play."
Pato must improve
Sweden forward Ibrahimovic is the untouchable starter in the team with Allegri usually preferring either Pato or Robinho alongside him. However, Allegri warned Pato that he has to develop some consistency.
"He's done a lot but the way he played in the derby and against Fiorentina, he must do so 30 times [a season]," said Allegri.
"He doesn't need to manage himself because he's only 20 [actually 22]. He needs to add useful movement to his great attributes without getting confused. He has incredible quality and could become much more than he is already."