Clarence Seedorf claimed qualifying for Europe was a ‘business strategy’ and played down his Milan team’s chances after a 2-1 win at Genoa.
When questioned over the prospect of beginning pre-season training early for the UEFA Europa League, Seedorf suggested that qualifying was not a football issue.
Milan held on doggedly for a hard-earned victory, their third in succession, to ensure their fight to salvage a poor season continues with a battle for the last Europa League place with neighbours Inter. They trail Inter by five points, and are one of six clubs in contention.
Goals in each half from Moroccan loanee Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda did not truly reflect the balance of play, as a committed Genoa heaped pressure on the Milan goal towards the end of each half. This finally told when defender Marco Motta latched onto a deep corner and volleyed in expertly on 73 minutes to set up a tense finish.
However, Milan held out and Seedorf was realistic about their European qualification prospects.
“The Europa League is closer but there are many teams fighting for those positions and closer to the target, so we’ll keep going and see what happens,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
When pressed on the early start to training required for the Europa League, Seedorf said: “We must be very practical and pragmatic here. The club has set an objective and we will all try to achieve it. At the end of the season, whether we achieve it or not, we will prepare for the new season.
“There is a commercial aspect that goes beyond what is on the field and (Milan vice president and chief executive) Mr Galliani was very clear on that. It is a business strategy, so you’d be better off asking Galliani.”
Seedorf was, however, delighted with his goalscorers, particularly Honda who snatched a vital second goal – his first in Serie A – when Milan were under severe pressure from the home side.
“I am very happy for Keisuke Honda. It was an important moment, as he broke his duck and we scored in a particular moment of the game when Genoa were pushing very hard indeed,” Seedorf said.
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