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AC Milan coach urges improvement after derby success

SoccerNews in Serie A 29 Sep 2008


AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has called for calm following his team's 1-0 victory over cross-city rivals Inter in Serie A action on the weekend.

Ronaldinho's first-half header made the difference in Sunday's match and means Milan have now gone on a run of four successive wins in the league and UEFA Cup, easing the pressure on Ancelotti after the club lost their two opening matches.

“Milan did exactly what I wanted,” Ancelotti told the club website

“We defended in numbers and hit on the counter attack, whilst always looking to play with balance and speed.

“The whole team played with great humility, every player helped one another. Compared to the first two games our approach to the matches and our mentality has changed.

“After this victory we must not lose sight of certain details. The losses against Genoa and Bologna are still fresh in the memory and I think it's still early to say that Milan is healed.

“Certainly the whole group learned from their errors and this helped us do better.”

Inter's loss to AC Milan was the first time that they have lost since Jose Mourinho took charge, their first since being crowned champions for the third season in a row and their ex-Chelsea coach Mourinho was in his usual abrasive mood following the defeat.

“They played with all their players in midfield,” the Portuguese told the club website

“Whereas we played with only two in central midfield. (Julio) Cruz had to come on to help our two midfielders with their marking, because (Clarence) Seedorf had far too much freedom.

“It was a great derby and should have finished 1-1. That would have been a fair result, but it finished 1-0 to them and now we have to look ahead. We've lost a match, but we're ahead of them (in the table) and I'm pleased with that.”

Mourinho will certainly not be pleased that the winning goal came from an unlikely source – a Ronaldinho header, his first goal in Italy – and was further angered by first the red card shown to the already substituted Marco Materazzi for abusive language and then the second yellow card to his other central defender Nicolas Burdisso.

However, captain Javier Zanetti urged the side to stay focused and not get sidetracked by the derby loss, with a Champions League fixture at home to Werder Bremen on Wednesday.

“We have to stay calm and think about Wednesday's Champions League match because there is still a long way to go in the championship,” the Argentinian said.

“Milan had one chance and scored. The referee got everything wrong when he sent off Materazzi. As captain I felt I couldn't protest it in case I made things worse. The referee booked me and I hadn't even said a thing.”

AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini added: “For us, winning the derby was important. I think we looked for the victory more than them and we got it. We deserved the victory.

“Now we are also in a good position in the standings.”

Probably the happiest man in San Siro on Sunday was Italy Prime Minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, for whom the result began his 72nd birthday celebrations on Monday.

However, despite his joy at the win, he still underlined that it was part of the team's progress and that is musn't become the season hightlight.

“I saw a great Milan tonight, who played with great technique and heart. I did not see a single player not give his best.

“Milan did what they had to do. They came on the pitch to win and control the play. But four victories aren't that many, we have to continue like this.”


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