(IN THE PHOTO: press conference at Milanello)
MILAN – On Saturday afternoon, the coach held a pre-game press conference and looked ahead to Sunday’s visit of Genoa to the San Siro for round 25 of Serie A.
Mihajlovic identified areas for improvement, but feels the team has what it takes to push on and climb the table: "We’re not finishing off the chances we create and we have to stop being wasteful. We cannot always blame bad-luck, but rather, we need to be more ruthless and clinical in front of goal. However, I cannot say a bad word against the players in terms of their performances and commitment, but if we are not always able to win, the fault lies with us. Top teams always manage to come away with the win. From the 7 matches with Genoa, Atalanta, Bologna, Verona, Empoli, Carpi and Udinese, 4 of which were at home and 3 of which were away, we picked up just 5 points from a possible 21. Had we collected 11, we would find ourselves in third place right now. We could have and should have done better and over the coming months we must improve our position in the table. I believe we can finish ahead of some of the sides currently ahead of us in the table. To do this we need consistency in our results. Over the course of the season, I feel we will make up ground on the teams above us."
The coach commented on Sunday’s visitors to the San Siro Genoa and answered a question on tactics: "Genoa are missing three key players, but they are still a good side that runs hard and they mark you all over the pitch. They are a well organised outfit and caused problems for Juve. It will be a very difficult game. Having said that, we have everything in place to beat them. If we repeat recent performances and play with a bit more determination, we will win. When we have a full squad available, we can think about switching back to a 4-3-1-2 formation. We could also change formation during the course of a match, but we will think about this when everyone is in top shape. I will play Menez when he is in the right condition. For now, he is still some way off peak fitness. We all want him available again because he has great abilities and he can make the difference alone."
A word on the President who soon celebrates the 30th anniversary of his purchase of the club in 1986: "He has been at the helm for 30 years. There is no one like him or who has won as many trophies at home and abroad. The anniversary of his purchase of the club is an important occasion for him but also for me, as it will be my birthday. The gift we all want to give him is that of taking Milan back to where it deserves to be. Juve-Napoli? May the best team win. Honda? He has a sweet left foot and in the past he has scored a few free-kicks too. He can improve but he is training on this."
Mihajlovic was joined in the press conference by the club captain and vice-captain. This is what the two players had to say ahead of the match with Genoa:
RICCARDO MONTOLIVO"We have to find the motivation to do well from within. We cannot think too much about our opponents because that way you lose sight of your goal. Instead, we have to focus on ourselves and collect as many points as possible. Recent performances have been encouraging and we need to keep it going. I think the situation will be clearer come the end of the month and the aim is to cut the gap as much as possible to the sides above us in the table. But looking too far ahead can be a distraction and so we have to take things one step at a time, starting with Genoa."
IGNAZIO ABATE"I am struggling with my ankle and it will be looked at later. Whoever plays will give a great performance. We are all focused and we cannot waste these big opportunities. The team has shown it is there in recent matches and we have to keep on this track. Matches with Genoa are never easy and they have always been closely fought. We will need to be on our toes seeing as we have always encountered a few difficulties in the lunch-time matches. We also need to be at our best from a physical standpoint."