AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri is blocking out reports he may be fired in order to focus on his team’s upcoming Champions League clash with Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg, he said Tuesday.
The Italian media have reported that Allegri is on the brink of losing his job following a poor start to the season, with Milan winning two of their seven games and dropping to 11th in Serie A.
“What they’re writing and saying is of no significance. The main thing is the result,” Allegri said.
Wednesday’s game in St. Petersburg could help to steady the ship, he said.
“Everything depends on the team’s results, including the one from tomorrow’s match,” Allegri said, adding that Sunday's upcoming derby against Inter Milan would not affect the team’s preparations for the Zenit clash.
Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo said he was confident of an improved performance from his team.
“With every game, the team is playing better and better. I’m sure that tomorrow Milan will be able to play even better and display top-class football,” the Italy international said.
Zenit started the season well with four straight wins, but have since won just two of the last eight fixtures and suffered a 3-0 defeat to Malaga in their opening Champions League group stage game.
Signing Brazil striker Hulk and Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel for €80 million earlier this month did not improve Zenit’s results and provoked a clash between senior midfielder Igor Denisov and the Zenit management, after which Denisov was dropped from the team.
The turmoil at Zenit is not a “crisis” and is unlikely to help Milan, Allegri said.
“I know about the problems at Zenit. But the footballers who will go out and play will be playing in an extremely important Champions League match, each with their own personality and approach,” he said.
“When they go out and play, they’ll be thinking of victory and everything will be decided on the pitch.”
Milan played out a goalless draw with Belgian side Anderlecht in their first group stage game.
Anderlecht host Malaga in Wednesday’s other match in Group G.