Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels Milan have become “fragile” and is seeking an instant response to Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing against Atalanta when they take on fierce rivals Inter next.
Previously unbeaten in 27 league matches stretching back into the 2019-20 season, Milan have now lost two of their last four games – they also went down 3-1 to Juventus earlier this month.
Goals from Cristian Romero, Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata condemned Stefano Pioli’s side to their latest defeat, but they are still top at the midway point of the season as closest challengers Inter could only manage a 0-0 draw with Udinese.
However, Ibrahimovic accepts being winter champions will count for little unless Milan regain some consistency and end their decade-long wait for Scudetto success.
“We lost two games after more than 30 matches that we didn’t lose,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“The team is a bit fragile because when certain players are missing, we lack a bit of experience. They are replaced by young players, but this is no excuse.
“We make many sacrifices; we work and we are first for a reason.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 23, 2021
“But being top at this stage does not matter. We are halfway through the championship, so far we have done well but still nothing this is the most difficult period because there are so many games and now we just have to continue.”
Asked if Tuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final with Inter has now taken on even more importance, Ibrahimovic said: “We have to redeem ourselves after this defeat.
“We have the chance to do it in a few days and then against Inter. That will be a good match.”
Milan’s club-record run of scoring in 38 successive league games was ended in Saturday’s loss at San Siro, a game in which the Rossoneri managed only two shots on target.
Ibrahimovic was unable to test Pierluigi Gollini with any of his five efforts, while his 36 touches of the ball were the fewest by any home player to take part in the entire game.
The veteran striker, who has 12 goals in nine league outings this term, admitted afterwards that he felt isolated up front.
“In the first half I was too alone in attack,” he said. “I didn’t have anyone close to support me, but it could also be because of the pressure from Atalanta that put us in trouble.
“Today many things were missing, it was not our day. Now the important thing is to recover and think about the next match to redeem ourselves.”
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