SERIE A: POST-MATCH REACTION after losing against Atalanta

MILAN – This is what was said in the wake of the team’s 2-1 loss at Bergamo:

SINISA MIHAJLOVIC (press conference)
“I would like to pass on my condolences to the Maldini family first of all. He was above all a great man before a great player. Two points in four games in unacceptable. I apologise to the fans and I take the responsibility. We will now go into a training retreat until the situation improves. I warned the team that things had to go differently. We now have to look over our shoulders while up next we face Juve, but nothing can be taken for granted in football. We have to play with the right attitude. We are going into a training retreat to sort things out and try and find a solution. If after 31 rounds of the Serie A season I am still here saying the same things it means that there are weaknesses. There are clearly areas that even with training and commitment we’re struggling to improve. Up until today there has been no problem with our fitness. Atalanta prepared for the match better than us, but we had to prepare without a lot of international players which does also show the quality that this squad has. But if you don’t fight, you cannot win. We weren’t determined or spirited enough. Today’s match speaks for itself and it’s pointless repeating the same things. We were lucky to take the lead but we then should have stepped things up a gear and killed off the contest. We didn’t do that and it’s not the first time this season. Locatelli is a good player that has come from the youth sector. He is not yet ready for the pace and intensity of first team football. He does however have the intelligence and the abilities. We now have a duty to try and cut the gap to the sides ahead of us in the table and we cannot let the sides behind us catch us. We all have to show that we’re worthy of being at this club. At the end of the season we will assess the situation. While I am here, I will try and get the best out of this team and myself. Juventus are clearly stronger than us, but it doesn’t mean we cannot beat them. We will spend the next six days together preparing as best as possible for the match. We will then see what happens. We will be in a training lockdown until at least Saturday. The right attitude has to always be there. I think Kucka and Honda can recover in time for the Juve game.”  

“I have an indelible memory of Cesare Maldini. I still remember when I went to Chiasso with friends to watch the 1963 European Cup final between Milan-Benfica. I was lucky to see him lift the first European Cup won by an Italian side. He was a legendary figure, from a legendary family. I sent Paolo Maldini a text message this morning and he replied saying how much Cesare Maldini was close to the club. My response was that he was Milan. Cesare is the history of Milan. But also the history of the Italian national side. He won three European Championships with the U21s and was assistant coach to Bearzot.  He was a great player and captain. I have a lot of memories of him. He made history with this club. I remember when we finished the 2000/2001 season with him as coach and the derby. His son followed in his footsteps and the fact that both of them lifted the European Cup to the English skies is something wonderful and incredible. He will always live long in our hearts.” 

SINISA MIHAJLOVIC (to the Milan Channel)
“We were lacking today in terms of focus, determination and character. I don’t want to look for excuses for my players. We lost a match in which we should have done better. When you lose, it means something was missing. I take the blame for this because I am the coach. I am trying in all ways possible to resolve the situation. I take my responsibilities and I have never shied away from this. There aren’t many more games to go in the league. We will try and finish as high as possible in the table and win the TIM Cup. If we’re not able to turn things around, we won’t win any of the matches from now until the end of the season.”