AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella says Gianluigi Donnarumma must learn to take criticism even if it is unjust, but insists his young goalkeeper is not distracted by talk over his contract.
Donnarumma has largely been superb since breaking into the Rossoneri’s first-team as a 16-year-old last season and the goalkeeper has been linked with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United following his impressive performances.
However, he received criticism in some quarters for failing to save a Miralem Pjanic free-kick in Milan’s 2-1 Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus in midweek.
Team-mate and fellow teenager Manuel Locatelli was sent off in the same fixture, and Montella says his young stars are calm despite their critics, although he warned the duo they must learn to ignore external negativity if they are to succeed at the top level.
“For Donnarumma and Locatelli it is important to accept and absorb the criticism, even if it is unfair,” he told a news conference ahead of Milan’s visit to Udinese on Sunday.
“It is part of the game and they cannot let it affect their confidence. Sometimes they received more praise, it is the most important moment in their careers.
“Locatelli made a mistake with the red card, the important thing is to learn from it.
“I do not see what more Gigio [Donnarumma] could have done with the Pjanic free-kick. You cannot call it an error.”
Reports have also suggested that Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola is demanding a salary of €10million per year for his client, while he is also said to be reluctant for the prized asset to sign a deal until Milan’s potential new owners are in place.
However, Montella refuted suggestions that the impasse is impacting his form, adding: “Gigi feels comfortable, he is having a great season.
“He is not distracted by the contract [situation]. He is calm.”
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