After making a statement against Serie A champions Juventus, AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella warned his players they must cope with growing expectations.
Italian teenager Manuel Locatelli’s stunning strike lifted Milan past Juve 1-0 at a sold-out San Siro on Saturday.
Juve had a goal controversially ruled out in the first half and Milan took advantage, with 18-year-old Locatelli producing a thunderous effort beyond Gianluigi Buffon in the 65th minute as Montella and Co. moved within two points of the table-topping title-holders.
With the 18-time Italian champions now back toward the summit following years in the wilderness, Montella said Milan have to be prepared for a new season after beating Juventus for the first time since 2012.
“You cannot think of beating Juve without suffering at least a little bit. I really liked the courage and confidence my team showed in spells, but not all the way through, and we must build on this,” Montella told Sky Sport Italia.
“I told the lads a new season begins now, because after this the opposition and everyone else will have different expectations of us. They will approach us a different way and the pressure on us will also be different.
“To be honest, tonight I really was emotional. After the final whistle I saw the lads rush to celebrate under the Curva and I had memories flooding back of my adolescence, when I was a Milan supporter and dreamed of playing here.
“I want to thank Adriano Galliani, as he is supporting his Coach throughout thick and thin, so with Milan going through rather a difficult transfer session, I am happy for him.”