Allegri eyes confidence boost despite Barca defeat
By Football News
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri hopes his side will take confidence from their performance in defeat against Barcelona on Wednesday.
A 3-1 loss at Camp Nou means that the Serie A side have not won in five games in all competitions, with Gerard Pique's own goal ultimately scant consolation for Milan as Lionel Messi, with a double, and Sergio Busquets scored for the hosts.
Milan did threaten to pull level after the interval, with the introduction of Mario Balotelli a factor in their increased attacking threat, but they were killed off by a late Messi goal seven minutes from time.
However, Allegri was still pleased with his side's overall performance and is confident that similar showings in the coming weeks will yield positive results.
"At this moment playing in Barcelona with this consistency is impressive," he he told Sky Sport Italia. "The team showed character and hunger.
"When we get our players back from injury, we will find better performances and results.
"This performance should give us confidence, as the team kept its belief and shape even after going behind, which it did not do against Fiorentina (a 2-0 Serie A defeat)."
Allegri also explained his reasoning behind naming Balotelli on the bench, with the coach opting instead for Brazilian pair Kaka and Robinho up front.
"I chose this system to give Kaka more freedom to attack, as he worked so hard at San Siro (in the first meeting with Barca) and at times had to play as a full-back. Robinho... gives a different tempo to the side, (he) played well at San Siro and did fairly well tonight too," Allegri continued.
"Mario had (an) injury on international duty and his recent performances were not sharp, so I preferred to start with the pairing that played in the first leg.
"People expect a lot from him, he has to improve and get accustomed to playing every three days, which he has never really done before coming to Milan. That's tough both physically and psychologically.
"The club hierarchy knew about my choices. I spoke to the president before the game, as I always do, and told him Balotelli was not going to start. I did this for the good of the team and for the good of Balotelli too."