Vincenzo Montella dismissed AC Milan’s comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Genoa as just a “bump in the road” for his young side.
A victory for Milan would have seen them go top of Serie A for at least 24 hours before Juventus host Sampdoria on Wednesday, but a Nikola Ninkovic header saw them trail at the break at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
The visitors’ Gabriel Paletta was given a straight red card for a two-footed lunge early in the second half, before a late own-goal from Juraj Kucka and a fine Leonardo Pavoletti strike sealed the three points for Genoa.
But Montella stressed his team can learn from the chastening defeat and feels they should still be proud of the run of form which saw them go six league games unbeaten.
“You in the media created expectations of Milan, but we have always been calm,” he told Mediaset Premium.
“It was just a bump in the road and these things can happen. At times a defeat can help you grow more than a victory.
“The growth process continues and the players should be proud of what they have done. Obviously we can do more.
“The real Milan was seen over the last 10 games and we are happy with the way the season is going.”
Montella claimed the sending off of Paletta, which he accepted was deserved after a reckless challenge, made it more challenging for Milan to get back into the game.
“It was a difficult match, which we expected,” he said.
“In the first half our tempo was too slow, but I don’t remember a genuine Genoa shot on goal, so the result did not reflect the performances.
“In the second half I liked the team much better. We didn’t want to lose and tried to fight back, but the red card made everything more complicated.”
Milan host Pescara at San Siro on Sunday.
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