Two games key to title success, says Milan boss

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri identified two key games after his side landed an 18th Serie A title following a 0-0 draw at Roma on Saturday.

Updated: May 08, 2011 09:10 IST
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Rome: AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri identified two key games after his side landed an 18th Serie A title following a 0-0 draw at Roma on Saturday.

That point gave the club a nine-point cushion over Inter Milan at the top and due to a better head-to-head record, the rossoneri cannot be caught by their cross-town rivals, who have just three games left to play.

And it was indeed their last derby that Allegri identified as one of the keys to final victory.

Milan beat Inter 3-0 a month ago despite coming into the game in poor form and without star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Inter could have gone top with victory but instead Milan opened up a five-point lead between the pair.

And the other crucial clash, according to the boss, was the very next game, a 2-1 win at Fiorentina.

"There were two important games in this period, one was the derby which stretched our lead over Inter," said Allegri.

"But the most difficult game was in Florence. Inter had won on the Saturday night and Napoli had won in the (Sunday) afternoon so we had to win to not lose our advantage."

"The team showed desire and technique and that was very important."

And Allegri believes that his team are worthy champions despite many claiming before the season began that they were too old.

"We gave a lot all year long to get here and we deserve to win. I'm lucky because the president (Silvio Berlusconi) gave us the opportunity (with new signings) to get important results."

"But most of all because of what was said about us being old and that we didn't have any more to give. We had a lot more to give and we showed that. We won 23 out of 36 games and proved that we deserved it."

Allegri, who had only coached two years in Serie A before taking over at Milan at the beginning of the season, was also delighted to have proved he was up to the task.

"Getting to Milan after only two years at Cagliari it was normal that everyone had doubts," he said.

"It was an exam but challenges and exams are part of life."

Vice-captain Gennaro Gattuso is one of the 30-somethings at the club who was part of the last league winning side in 2004 and he was delighted to have proved the detractors wrong.

"They said we were dead, they said I was finished so to win after seven years is wonderful," he said.

"Allegri deserves a 10 out of 10, he was the architect of this success, he managed to keep the group compact."

Another of those veterans Clarence Seedorf said there was more to come from this team, particularly as they have an Italian Cup semi-final, second leg to play in Sicily next week - they drew 2-2 with Palermo in the first leg at the San Siro.

"It's a wonderful moment and it's arrived after seven years," he said.

"This group will develop a lot after this victory and now we hope to also win the Italian Cup."

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