AC Milan will not underestimate third-tier opponents Alessandria in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday, head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has promised.
Milan have a 1-0 goal lead from the first meeting – given to them from the penalty spot by Mario Balotelli – leaving Alessandria with a tough ask at San Siro.
A run of 10 games unbeaten was extended to 11 by Milan’s 1-0 win against Torino on Saturday, prompting suggestions the Rossoneri could yet mount an unlikely Serie A title challenge.
But Mihajlovic, whose side are 11 points off the summit, insists the focus for now is on the Coppa – a competition they last won in 2003.
“We think first to the Coppa Italia, reach the final with a chance to win a trophy is important. We cannot underestimate Alessandria,” he said.
“We will have to have the right head on Tuesday and then we will think to Sassuolo.
“Tuesday we have an important game in the Coppa Italia, then we think about the next three league games and see how things go.”
Alessandria have beaten sides including Palermo, Genoa and Spezia on their way to the Coppa Italia semi-finals, but Milan will be strong favourites to book their place in the final.
Balotelli may get another chance to impress as the on-loan Liverpool striker continues his rehabilitation after months on the sidelines following groin surgery, while defender Alessio Romagnoli should be available after recovering from a fever.
Milan could also welcome Giacomo Bonaventura, Riccardo Montolivo and Juraj Kucka back from injury.
Lega Pro Group A side Alessandria, who have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions, have not visited San Siro for nearly 80 years and on that occasion they were beaten 4-0 by Milan.
Coach Angelo Gregucci will be without centre-back Alex Sirri as he is serving a suspension.
The winners of the tie will face either reigning champions Juventus or Inter in the final, with the former taking a 3-0 lead from the first leg to San Siro on Wednesday.