Coach Massimiliano Allegri laughed off suggestions AC Milan are in crisis after a run of three games without a win.
The Italian champions lost 2-1 at home to league leaders Juventus in the Italian Cup semi-final, first leg on Wednesday. That followed hot on the heels of league games in which they lost 2-0 at Lazio and then drew 0-0 at home to Napoli. Those results have left the rossoneri a point behind Juve having played a game more and Milan face a tough trip to fourth-placed Udinese on Saturday.
But Allegri hit back at suggestions his team was in crisis. "Absolutely," the coach said sarcastically. "We're still fighting on three fronts, even though the first round in the Cup went to Juve. We need to say little, work a lot and the results will arrive. I can't say that if we beat Udinese we will also win the league but I'm sure that at the end of the season we will be challenging Juventus for the title."
However, Milan's form has not been good since the turn of the year, losing three of their last five matches, including last month's city derby against Inter. "We need to get back to getting points," added Allegri. "In the last five matches we've lost three times, one of which was in the Cup. But we're calm, we're in good shape and we're getting some luck back. When you don't get results things are always seen in a more negative light.
"Udinese play good football, they will be difficult to face. For us it will be difficult as ever," he went on. "From a tactical point of view we'll need to be patient but most of all, given we get punished from the first chance [we concede], we need to pay more attention defensively."
It's a bad time for Milan to be out of form with Arsenal the visitors to the San Siro in the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Which is why Allegri is determined his side will start to turn things around on Saturday. "It's an important match given the commitments we have coming up," he said.
Allegri also defended his side's record against their title rivals Juve, having now lost to the Old Lady of Turin twice this season. "There is no surrender in our confrontations with Juve, we just need to do something more in terms of our gameplan and intensity. We need more attention and greater nastiness."
Udinese have been the surprise package this season and sit just four points behind leaders Juve. They will join Milan in joint-second if they beat the rossoneri.