Mihajlovic gives his thoughts on the team’s 2-1 victory over Genoa in Serie A.

(IN THE PHOTO: the team celebrate Honda’s goal)MILAN – This is what was said after the Rossoneri’s win over Genoa on Sunday afternoon at the San Siro in round 25 of Serie A:

“Today we had to win and we have done that. We played well and we gave away very few chances. Matches have to be killed off though otherwise the result is always hanging in the balance. The team played well against a side that makes it hard for you and frustrates your play. We deserved to win. I only talk based on what I see out on the pitch. Looking at our rivals, we are in better shape than them at this moment in several areas. If we keep these performances going, and keep improving in front of goal, we will also be in the hunt for third place. We know that Napoli and Juventus are the two strongest teams. Napoli have incredible potential in attack with Higuain. But it won’t be easy for them facing us. It will be a great match and we will play our game as we always do. When the team is playing well, it is difficult to change. Abate and Antonelli have played well. I see De Sciglio as a starter and today he took his chance. This is the right attitude. Every time a player is called upon, he has to give his all. Like I said after the Frosinone match, if Honda continues to play like this, he will always play. In the past he and Montolivo were criticised. But they have shown that with work and sacrifices, you can turn jeers into cheers. I congratulate both of them. At Napoli we are going for the win, as I have always done in my career. Whoever doesn’t give their all for the entire match, won’t play.”

“We had the right attitude today and we controlled the match. Like last week’s match with Udinese, we encountered another side that defended well, and we found it a bit harder in the first half, but in the second we managed to create more chances. In the past few months, the team has made the step-up and our mental approach is making the difference. We are now playing with more confidence and that is down to us. Up next is Napoli, one of the in-form teams in the league, but we are ready and we have what it takes to make it hard for them.”

“I am training hard so I can be in a position to give my best for the team. I am giving my all on and off the training pitch, working on everything, so I can be ready when I am called upon. I aim to give my absolute all whenever I am needed by the team. I now have to keep on this path, without putting pressure on myself, with peace of mind, doing what I know and also enjoying myself out on the pitch. Our goal is to qualify for Europe. We have to do everything possible to get back there. Let’s take things one game at a time though and try and claw back points on the teams above. It was vital to win today. It was a hard game too because Genoa always make life hard for opponents. Going to Euro 2016 would be a really great achievement, but it all passes through how I do at club level. If I play well here, the national team will come as a result.”

“It’s been a long time since Honda was last on the score-sheet in Serie A. Bronzetti did so much for him and to help us bring a great player to the club. I forced myself to say it before, but he is an important and super player for the team. He brings the team balance. With him and Bonaventura in the side, there is a lot of balance. There were a lot of positive notes to come from today. Not just Honda, but also De Sciglio. I congratulated him and I asked him why he doesn’t always play like that. Plus, there was the return of Menez. Today the glass is half full. Antonelli was fantastic while Bacca has a real eye for goal. I had been following him in the past two years. I liked the look of him and I also like his former coach, Emery, who I feel is a top coach. But he won’t be coming to Milan though. Bacca is a fantastic player. Even Ancelotti spoke to me about him. Had Ancelotti stayed at Real Madrid, Bacca would have probably moved there. He has already netted 15 goals this season. We have collected 14 points in the second half of the season, compared to 9 at the start of the season. I would say that is pretty good. Romagnoli is just 21 and, all going to plan, he will be a first team regular for the coming years. Alex is a top defender. His quality is there to see and his career speaks for itself. His performances lately aren’t by chance. We have a good team and we are now having our say. This is a team that has to fight for third place. We are in no way inferior to the other teams battling for that goal. There are many routes into Europe this season. There is the Champions League via the league and the Europa League via the league or cup, providing we get past Alessandria. The players have always remained a very close knit group. They have always been behind the coach and they have stayed united in all situations. We are happy with the 14 points we have collected lately, it could have been more, but we will take it. Had we beaten Empoli and Udinese, we could have strung together an impressive winning run. Let’s keep battling and see how Fiorentina-Inter ends tonight. I will spend my Valentine’s evening watching that match. Transfer front? Nocerino will sign everything tomorrow while Locatelli will be part of the first team squad from tomorrow. Vangioni will join on July 1. We have all his physical, technical and mental data. He is very good pushing forward, not as strong at the back. He is excellent at getting forwards. Anything can happen but a manager has to evaluate what he has available. He has very good characteristics and he will come and strengthen our options in defence.”

SINISA MIHAJLOVIC (press conference)
“Balotelli took a knock, he was limping a bit, but it’s just a knock. In the first 6 matches, we collected just 9 points. We have now collected 14 points from the same amount of matches. Napoli? Higuain is a great player but it won’t be easy for Napoli to beat this Milan. The players are coming off the back of two difficult years, but as I have always said, it is down to us to bring the fans back to the stadium. Honda has been playing well for a while and he was just missing a goal. He had to take shots on goal today and I am happy for him. Niang wasn’t very happy when he was taken off but that’s normal, no one is ever happy when they are taken off.”