Andrei Shevchenko admitted he was relieved to be back on the San Siro scoring trail after hitting the back of the net at AC Milan's home stadium for the first time since returning to the club.
Shevchenko scored in Milan's 2-1 Coppa Italia defeat to Lazio on Wednesday night, his first goal at the ground in more than two-and-a-half years. He last scored at the San Siro on April 4, 2006 in a 3-1 UEFA Champions League victory over Lyon, two months before leaving the Italian economic capital and heading to the English capital to join Chelsea.
Despite returning to Italy amongst much pomp and fanfare, Sheva has struggled at the San Siro, failing to hold down a first team place. His only starts have been coming in the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia while for Serie A encounters he seems to have fallen behind Ronaldinho, Pato, Marco Borriello and Filippo Inzaghi in the striker pecking order.
However, the Ukraine forward, whose career has nose-dived remarkably since becomming the most expensive player in English football history two years ago, hopes that this goal will be the first of many more for the club he served with such distinction from 1999 to 2006, scoring more than 170 times for them during that period.
"Finally I'm back among the goals and on top of that it happened at the San Siro," he said, seemingly forgetting that he has bagged one goal in the UEFA Cup this season away to FC Zurich. "I feel better, I'm growing, I'm happy. For me the most important thing is to play, to find my form and every game I play allows me to take a step in the right direction."
Milan were knocked out of the Coppa Italia but no one at the San Siro seemed particularly upset as their aims this season are almost solely on trying to reclaim the Serie A title for the first time since 2004, when Shevchenko finished as the league's top goalscorer with 24 strikes.
However, despite his goal on Wednesday he was far from the clinical striker of old and missed two good chances. "The team and me in particlar had many chances. At this time I need to rediscover a certain calmness in front of goal," he added.
"Unfortunately we went down to 10 men (when Emerson was sent off) and things became complicated. I could have done better, much better and next time I'll try to put things right.
"That being said I took a step forward, I feel quite good and all I lack in this time is making the most of my chances."
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti for his part did not seem disappointed with the result and was more concerned that injuries had forced him to play the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Clarence Seedorf and Gianluca Zambrotta rather than rest them ahead of this weekend's visit of Catania.
"We weren't holding out huge hopes in this game while it wasn't possible to change things around because we don't have many alternatives at the moment," he complained. "In the crucial moment we found ourselves down to 10 men but we managed to take the lead only to then lose control of the match."
Perhaps more worrying for Milan is that they have let in nine goals in their last four matches. "We've lost a bit of our intensity but we're not experiencing a difficult moment," said Ancelotti defiantly.