Allegri urges fans to keep faith
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has urged his side's fans not to lose faith despite their shock home defeat to Serie A newcomers Sampdoria.
The unease among Rossoneri supporters has grown steadily over the summer as the club shed a clutch of veterans including Filippo Inzaghi and Clarence Seedorf, before selling star players Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain.
The perceived cost-cutting exercise has seen limited new arrivals at the San Siro, and the frustration of the Milanisti faithful was compounded as Andrea Costa snatched a surprise 1-0 victory for Samp on the opening weekend of the Italian season.
Allegri told acmilan.com: "We can't lose faith, we must improve and we will do so over time. There is every reason to stay positive, we can't let our heads drop. I know there's a lack of conviction and an air of disappointment around this team and the squad needs a morale boost.
"We needed to get a positive result but we failed. I will talk with the club about what needs to be done. I'm sorry because the players didn't deserve that defeat."
Influential midfielder Riccardo Montolivo represents at least one high-profile capture for Milan after making the switch from Fiorentina this summer.
"I was hoping for a better result from the opening game," said the 27-year-old schemer. "I'm unhappy because we created a lot of chances in the second half but just needed a bit of luck. There's work to be done and we need to improve and find the right balance. I understand the fans' unhappiness, we feel the same. We are also angry but we plan to do better on Saturday (at Bologna)."
Samp boss Ciro Ferrara, though, could barely hide his delight after masterminding the victory.
The result also saw Samp erase their one-point deduction for their involvement in the Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal.
He told sampdoria.it: "We have a really young squad and it's very satisfying to go and win at the San Siro.
"We certainly need to improve in many areas and be more clinical. We're happy to have overturned the penalty, but there's a long way to go. Samp's aim remains the same - survival.
"I'm not really bothered by our opponents' problems, I'm just happy to see my squad play to 100 per cent of their ability. Our fans made an almighty racket. This victory is for them, especially as so many turned up."