AC Milan coach Massimilano Allegri has played down the importance of his team's four defeats against potential title rivals this season, insisting it is results against others which count more.
The reigning Serie A champions lost 2-0 at fourth-placed Lazio in midweek, meaning they have yet to beat any immediate title rivals. Their other three league defeats have come against leaders Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli, while they only drew against third-placed Udinese.
Their only win against a top-seven club came in a 3-2 success at Roma when the capital-based club were languishing in the bottom half of the table. Ahead of tomorrow's visit by Napoli, at whose ground Milan lost 3-1 earlier in the season, Allegri dismissed the significance of those results.
"That observation has no relevance, we have one point less than at the same stage last season," said Allegri. "The numbers are added up in May and it doesn't matter if you get the points against the little teams or the big ones. And in any case, ever since I was small I heard that to win the league you need to beat the minnows."
Allegri also complained that Lazio had defended well and made it difficult for Milan to create chances. "When opponents defend like rocks everything becomes more difficult, if you manage to go in front things become simpler," he explained. "Against Lazio we created several chances before conceding.
"We've lost some direct clashes but there's no need to make a mountain out of a molehill. If we beat Napoli things will look different for everyone else, but not for me. There's no drama, we haven't become useless.
"We need to keep working hard without creating a drama. We have to analyse the defeat and improve in certain aspects of our play. We have problems against teams who keep it tight so we have to reduce the defensive mistakes."
Looking towards a likely two-way title fight between his team and Juventus, Allegri scofffed at his counterpart Antonio Conte's insistence that Milan are the favourites. "I think Conte's underestimating his team. However, I only talk about Milan and not other teams," he said. "We will fight for the title right to the end and if they win it, will mean that they were better.