Alberto Gilardino was glad "to leave the field with everyone applauding" after his two goals kick-started AC Milan's 4-1 drubbing of FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
The 25-year-old striker had come in for criticism in recent weeks having not got off the mark this season until he scored twice in a 5-1 win against S.S. Lazio on 7 October. Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said after the weekend's 1-0 defeat at home against Empoli FC that the club needed another Oliver Bierhoff – a big target man – but Gilardino gave the perfect response on Wednesday.
He scored with his head in the sixth and 14th minutes to set Milan on their way, and said afterwards: "It is really satisfying to leave the field with everyone applauding. I don't think I have made peace with the supporters tonight – I don't think so because I never felt like we were having problems. If they were not happy with my performances they had the right to show it."
The UEFA Champions League continues to provide solace for Milan, who are enduring a tough start in Serie A, and the win against Shakhtar underlined their ambition of winning a second successive European crown. "It is always easier for us to play in the Champions League, because we are at our best against the strongest opponents who let us play our football," said Gilardino.
Now that his personal dry spell in front of goal has come to an end, Gilardino hopes to get into a regular scoring groove, saying: "When I start scoring I don't stop. I've been feeling much better since I scored against Lazio but I think I can still improve. I want to do better and better. I have made a step forward but I have to keep working."
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