Massimiliano Allegri urged AC Milan "not to feel sorry for ourselves" as they bid to put a rough patch in Serie A behind them against a determined RSC Anderlecht in Group C.
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AC Milan have lost two of their opening three Serie A games but are determined to "make amends" according to coach Massimiliano Allegri as they meet RSC Anderlecht in their opening UEFA Champions League Group C fixture. The Belgian side sound in no mood to be pushed around, however.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri
The first thing to do is not to feel sorry for ourselves – I don't like that. Tomorrow is our first match in the Champions League so we must try to win in order to ensure a more positive outlook. On Saturday, the team weren't great but created opportunities. At the moment, we are not doing enough to win games and we have to start doing that. Anderlecht have experience and pedigree in Europe, so we need a lot of balance, quality and patience.
They are an organised team with a great ability to play on the counterattack. Kanu is a good player who concerns me, and there is also [Lucas] Biglia who has good technique and vision. We are not happy with our bad start but we have to think positively, we have to focus on the game and concentrate. The players know that we can challenge for the top but now the priority is this game and we have to face Anderlecht with a desire to make amends.
Saturday: Milan 0-1 Atalanta BC (Cigarini 64)
Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Acerbi, Antonini; De Jong, Ambrosini (Nocerino 55), Emanuelson (Constant 79); Boateng; Pazzini, El Shaarawy (Bojan 70).
• A second-half strike by Luca Cigarini condemned Milan to a second defeat in as many home games. The last time the Rossoneri started a Serie A campaign with two consecutive home losses was in 1930/31.
• Riccardo Montolivo misses out with a thigh injury sustained on 1 September. "I think it is too early for him to play tomorrow," said Allegri. "I believe he will available on Sunday against Udinese."
Coach John van den Brom
Anderlecht need to find the right approach and spirit to take into this game. We have to put some real quality into the match and we have to be really focused on the pitch. We must adapt to the way they play, but our aim is to impose our strength and our way of playing on the game. It won't be a crucial match, although it is important to get a good result and to show genuine commitment. This is a key element to having a good Champions League campaign.
[Forward Dieudonné] Mbokani is playing well but he's doing it all in the service of the team. The way I see it, I prefer a collective mentality to individual skills.
Saturday: K. Lierse SK 1-1 Anderlecht (Menga 86; Kanu 12)
Proto: Gillet, Wasilewski, Nuytinck, Deschacht; Klestjan, Biglia, Kanu (Praet 68): Bruno, Jovanović (De Sutter 83), Yakovenko.
• Saturday's draw was Anderlecht's third in a row after stalemates against OH Leuven and KRC Genk.
• Mbokani was rested after a long journey back from international duty for DR Congo. Kanu came off with a back complaint but should be fit to face Milan.
Van den Brom reported no injury problems, and said that he would field defender Cheikhou Kouyaté at San Siro.
Milan have gone on to win the trophy on the previous two occasions they have met Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League.