Massimiliano Allegri believes finishing third in Serie A would be a great achievement for Milan following a poor start to the season.
The San Siro outfit found themselves in the bottom half of Serie A in November and languishing in seventh place at the turn of the year.
However, Milan recovered with a 14-game unbeaten run and are now favourites to secure the final UEFA Champions League position.
Allegri said: “Third place would be like the Scudetto considering the way our season started.
“Fourth place wouldn’t be a failure, but it would be a bitter result and I don’t even want to think about it.
“These lads deserve third after those difficult moments and the end of an era.”
Milan secured a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Torino on Sunday, which helped to cement their hold on third place.
The visitors had the better opportunities during the match but Mario Balotelli struck a late goal from close range to snatch all three points.
Allegri added: “Today was a very complicated game, but Mario was very good at playing it.
“In the second half we had more courage. It was a dirty game but in the course of a season you have to win these games.”
The three points stretches Milan’s lead over fourth-placed Fiorentina to four points, heading into the final three league fixtures of the season.
Allegri also complimented Juventus on their second consecutive Scudetto, adding: “They deserved it and this was a triumphant march.”