(IN THE PHOTO: thumbs up from the coach)
MILAN – Here is the post-match reaction to the Rossoneri’s 1-0 win over Torino on Saturday night in round 27 of Serie A:
SINISA MIHAJLOVIC"We were prepared for a difficult game tonight. Torino are a tough side to face and they played well, but we deserved this win. I liked the team’s desire to battle and work-hard. Looking at the numbers, such as points collected and goals conceded, it’s fair to say we are on the up and we are on the right track. We now have to prepare well for Tuesday’s cup game and then the next three matches in Serie A, which will reveal a lot about our chances of qualifying for the Champions League. I believe, but let’s take things one match at a time. I am really happy and for the players above all. I always said we shouldn’t complain about the fans and that it was down to us to change things. They have always supported us during matches and I thank them for the banners tonight on behalf of the whole team. We always have to believe and continue to fight like we have been doing. With this attitude, we needn't fear any side. The words from the President were important and very nice. An area to work on is how we use the ball when in possession, but the President recognised the commitment and the team spirit that exists. We never give in and you can see that. The President has seen that and I am very happy about this. We are step by step gaining our revenge. We now have to focus on the cup match. The chance to reach the final is a big motivation. That is our aim and then we will think about beating Sassuolo in the next league match."
IGNAZIO ABATE"Tonight went well and it was a great evening for us. Playing with the captain’s armband is always a real thrill and gives you a real sense of belonging and responsibility. We put in a good performance tonight, playing very well in the first half while in the second, we held firm. These are the type of wins that help the team grow and are even more satisfying because you really have to work hard to earn them. There are lots of positive notes to come from tonight. I also want to thank the fans for their banners ahead of the game which really charged us up. We cannot ever give in. I feel we are entering a crucial stage of the season. The outcome from the next few games will have a big say on where we can end up. We have done well this season to take all the criticism that has come our way in our stride. We now have to do the same with the compliments that are coming our way and keep on working hard. We train at a high intensity and the credit for that goes to the coach. Whoever plays, gives their absolute all for the cause. Thanks to the training we’re always on top and always giving our best. If we are doing well, it isn’t just down to the defence. The whole team has the determination to do well and our self-belief is growing. Having said that, we cannot get ahead of ourselves. The next matches are massively important. First we have the cup game and then we are in for a battle against Sassuolo. In the second half, we played with character, in the image of our coach, and we were psyched up. We know there is no more room for mistakes. We are doing well and there is still plenty more to come from this team."
KEISUKE HONDA"We played well tonight, it was a hard game, but we brought home the 3 points. We now have to focus right away on the next game. We haven’t done well in the past two years, but we had and we still have lots of talented players in this squad. We are now all pulling together in the same direction and we are collecting a lot of points. I will now try and get my energy back as we only have 3 days before the cup tie with Alessandria."
ADRIANO GALLIANI"The team play as one, even when they are on the back foot. They play like lions and with desire, determination and grit. The coach is instilling character into the players. There is always a ferocious determination, otherwise, we would not have collected 18 points from the past 8 matches. What’s more, we have shipped just 5 goals from those games. But there is no point talking about the league table yet. Let’s take things one game at a time. The gap however could be cut come the end of the round, seeing as there are head to heads between the sides above us. The club has been close to the President’s heart for the past 30 years and nothing has changed. When there is a playing system that works, everyone plays well. Zapata is doing more than well while Alex is playing brilliantly. Abate is in extraordinary shape. The team runs hard. I can accept everything, but not a side that does not battle. This team does that in all conditions. This is something that is being passed on by the coach. He and the coaching staff are ensuring the players play as a team. I won’t be looking too far ahead. I will only analyse what we have done up until now. I am not one to make predictions. I am only looking at the points won so far. Up next is the cup match with Alessandria and we will see what happens. El Shaarawy was unhappy at Monaco. He asked me for a transfer and said that he wanted to play. He is owned by Milan and we couldn’t ask him to stay at a club where he would not have been given any more playing time. The only big club that came in for him was Roma. I tried to value a Milan asset. I think it was a good transfer move. I am expecting a bottle of wine from the Italy coach! El Shaarawy is now playing and I am happy for him."