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Coach tells AC Milan to ‘work harder’

SoccerNews in Serie A 11 Sep 2010

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AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri told his team to roll up their sleeves following their shock 2-0 defeat at minnows Cesena.

Having signed global stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho since their opening game of the season — a 4-0 hammering of newboys Lecce — Milan were expected to deal a footballing lesson to little Cesena — who two years ago were playing in the Italian third tier.

But goals from Albania striker Erjon Bogdani and Emanuele Giaccherini in the first half stunned Milan.

And Allegri said his team, particularly his forwards, need to do more to work for the team.

“They need to have a completely different attitude. We need sacrifice, especially when you go behind,” he said.

“When you don’t have the ball, everyone has to get back but we didn’t get that.”

However, Allegri, who spent the previous two years as Cagliari coach, was looking to the positives.

“It’s a defeat that will do us some good because matches are also won with sacrifice. If we don’t play as a team we won’t win important things.”

Milan did start the match reasonably well but were knocked back as Giaccherini sent a ball from left to right where Luca Ceccarelli brought it down on his chest and volleyed across goal for Bogdani to glance home a header.

As Milan pushed forward they were caught again a minute before the break, Stephen Appiah’s clearing header finding Bogdani, who rolled marker Sokratis Papastathopoulos and released Giaccherini to scamper in on goal and beat Cristian Abbiati with a crisp shot.

Allegri introduced Robinho for Ronaldinho in the second half but he had no more influence than Ibrahimovic.

Pato had the ball in the net for the visitors but it was ruled out for a handball before substitute Filippo Inzaghi earned a somewhat generous late penalty.

But Ibrahimovic’s debut to forget ended with him crashing his spot-kick against the post.

Earlier in the day, Inter got their first win of the season as they stumbled to a 2-1 victory over Udinese.

Goals from Lucio and Samuel Eto’o sandwiched a reply from Antonio Floro Flores as Inter made hard work of limited opponents.

Coach Rafael Benitez said that he was not interested in seeing how Milan got on because he already had his eyes on Tuesday’s trip to FC Twente in the Champions League.

“I’ll run home but not to see their match, but instead to prepare for our game against Twente because that’s what counts,” he said.

Pushed on how he felt about Milan’s new star-studded attack, Benitez performed an admirable side-step.

“We know that the other teams are good but we also know that we are too.”

Inter started brightly as Lucio rifled home at the back post from Wesley Sneijder’s corner as he was given too much time and space on seven minutes.

Udinese were level, though, on 31 minutes as Alexis Sanchez took a short corner, got the return and then crossed for Floro Flores to arrive late and get above Lucio to power home a header from six yards.

Cameroon forward Eto’o knocked in the winner on 67 minutes after his penalty was saved by Samir Handanovic but the ball fell kindly to him to slot home the rebound.

In the day’s other game AS Roma suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat at Cagliari and also had Nicolas Burdisso dismissed for a horror tackle in the first half.

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