Hakan Calhanoglu has cited being mentally free and receiving confidence from his coach as two of the reasons for his incredible resurgence.
Milan secured their progression to the Play-Off round of Europa League qualification with a frantic 3-2 win over Bodo/Glimt, battling an injury crisis to set up a game against Rio Ave of Portugal next week.
It was another excellent night for Calhanoglu too, as the Turkey international scored twice and registered an assist to take his Europa League tally up to five goal contributions in two games for the season.
Calhanoglu has both scored and assisted in five out of his last nine games with Milan in all competitions, including Europa League qualifiers.
At the end of the game, he spoke to DAZN about the current moment he is experiencing and the challenge that Bodo/Glimt posed.
“We knew that today was going to be a difficult match, they played well and had a lot of quality forward. We conceded the goal immediately but we reacted well,” he said (via MilanNews).
“We had many chances. In the second half we didn’t play as we wanted. however, the important thing was to win and go through.”
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out due to Coronavirus, Calhanoglu had to become the leader out there.
“Yes, they knew Ibra would not be there and for the young people it was an opportunity to show off, like Colombo who did well today. Before. game first goal, he must continue like this. Then there are many other young players who are doing well, we know that when Zlatan comes back we are even stronger.”
Among the reasons cited for his resurgence, Calhanoglu said they were three-fold.
“I’m free in my head, the coach gives me his confidence. I feel comfortable in my role, I have said in many interviews that I want to play in this position and now the coach lets me play. I’m very happy, my qualities can get out. But the important thing is that we won today.”
Can Milan make it all the way to the Europa League? “Yes, we have won many games in the post lockdown and we want to continue like this.”
Finally, on Colombo’s goal, he added: “Yes, I saw that there were two players close to me, I tried the heel pass and it went well. I’m happy for Colombo.”