MILANELLO – Here’s what Milan’s new coach had to say this afternoon at the Milanello sports centre:
“The objective at the moment is to us all our determination to improve results. Work and commitment will get us there. I’m here to help with this reconstruction but it’s clear that we need time and as things stand I can’t set a date for when the results will start to come. Commitment is what’s needed and I can see that with the players. They’re the first to understand the fans and the most disappointed to be in this situation. This has happened to other big clubs that have fought their way back however. I’m here to work to do that and to make the fans dream again.”“The group needs serenity to face a difficult situation. It’s from these situations that you see the quality of the group and the right spirit. The aesthetics of the game will come from work and no one has forgotten the quality need to play football. We need commitment and enthusiasm. Matches against Cagliari have always been tough, they have great support from their fans. They’re a consolidated team and we have respect for them. The meeting with Barbara Berlusconi? There was a presentation with various department heads and they explained their future plans for the brand which helped me to understand better where it is the club wants to go. It was very positive for me. All coaches here have always worked for the club’s activities. There are no separate departments, we all work for each other and the clearer the strategic vision for the club is, the better.”“I know Essien quite well. I spoke with him clearly and transparently. We know him as a player and he’s a very positive. He’ll be a big help. I also want to wish the best to Antonio Nocerino. He sweated a lot for this jersey in his time here, but I’m happy with Essien’s arrival. He’ll play in the middle even if he can also operate as a full back but I always like to see players in their best position. A skeptical welcome? Maybe it’s a good thing. If you look at the benches of Real Madrid and Chelsea, there are some great players who are maybe surplus to requirements. I have guarantees regarding Essien. He’s a warrior with a lot of experience. Syetem of play? I have to ask you not to go on about that. What’s important is the commitment, determination and the warrior spirit that will make the difference.”“Each coach has his own style. I’m starting now. I don’t know the team that well and they don’t know me. Constant gesticulation might cause confusion. I spoke to the players when the ball was out of play. From my experience as a player, I know when there’s understanding, like I had with Ancelotti. You know what the coach wants by the way he looks at you. Tranquility is key for the team as things stand. Balotelli is fine, we want to improve but we’ll need a lot of commitment to rebuild. The Champions League? Now we have to think about Cagliari.”“There are a lot of players who would love to come and play for Milan. With all sincerity, I have every faith in the players I have here. El Shaarawy? Until he comes back fit, he should be left in peace. I’m here a week now and I’m focused on the team and what we need. The warrior spirit? They have it in them and they have to pull it out. Despite the situation, I see in the players’ eyes the desire to work and to give everything they have. That’s the right spirit and I can see it. The results won’t always go our way but we need patience. Physical fitness? With respect for the work done by Allegri, that’s a question we’re looking at internally. The players are giving everything in the games we’ve played. Experience tells me that you can run hard without running well. The match against Udinese was a particular game. We have to focus on ourselves and on improving. I don’t want to judge the work done so far this season. I have to observe and talk with people. I want to understand as much as I can before coming to conclusions. Timing is key for a coach.”“Fearful thoughts won’t help us. A season without Champions League football is not the end of the world, it’s happened to many big clubs and it’s not shameful. You have to accept the present, otherwise you’re living an illusion. You have to be realistic and that’s where we start from. Fear is a psychological weight, everyone wants to play in the Champions League but there’s a big gap at the moment. That shouldn’t be our focus though. We have other things to think about, spirit, team work, improving day by day and giving everything we have. It’s clear the space we have to make up to play in Europe. One step at a time. Honda? I’ve always liked him as a player but it’s not easy to come to Italy from Russia. I’d like to take some pressure off him to help him settle in. he has great qualities, vision and timing and like a real Japanese man, he has a spirit that will never give in.”