AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri is confident his side can finish in the top three after a disappointing start to the Serie A season.
Milan consolidated third position and closed to within eight points of league leaders Juventus with a 2-0 victory over lowly Genoa on Friday.
The 18-time Italian champions are in a rich vein of form since losing to Lazio in October, having tasted defeat just twice in their past 20 games.
“After a terrible beginning to the championship, our main objective now is to defend our third place and maybe try and achieve something more, even if it isn’t always easy,” Allegri said.
“I expected tonight’s match to be difficult and it was. Tonight my team has gone one step further.
“They understood they needed to battle and they guys have done their best and have found the best way to win the match. I believe this is very important.”
Allegri also paid tribute to Genoa, who he believes will survive their relegation battle despite sitting only five points clear of the drop zone.
“Genoa had a good performance,” the 45-year-old said. “They’re performing well and I believe they won’t have any problems remaining in Serie A because they have good skills and are well structured.
“Tonight they created difficulties for us. It’s never easy to win in Genoa, but we have managed to do it and we have managed not to concede any goals.”
Milan must now turn their attention to Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League second leg clash against La Liga giants Barcelona at Camp Nou.
The Italians head into the match with a 2-0 aggregate lead and Allegri believes luck will play its part in Spain.
“We know that we’ll be facing the strongest team in the world (Barcelona) even if we have already scored two goals against them,” he added.
“This is Champions League last 16. If we’re lucky and we manage to have an even better performance compared to the one at the San Siro stadium, maybe we could qualify.
“We’ll see on Tuesday. We only have to wait and luckily there are only four days until the match, otherwise the wait would be too long.”