If there was any doubt that AC Milan are struggling with the tag of being champions, the words of two influential players seems to have proven it.
Tuttosport (via MilanNews) recall how Sandro Tonali’s words after the draw against Atalanta went a bit under the radar in August, but now they seem very topical again especially after what Zlatan Ibrahimovic said at the end of the Udinese game.
Tonali said: “I think we don’t hear different, but we have to understand that this is another season. It’s a normal thing, after you win the Scudetto, you get back on the wings of enthusiasm. There wasn’t the right concentration, we started as if it were matchday 39.”
Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic made an admission after Milan’s 3-1 defeat against the Friulians on Saturday night, suggesting that this kind of pressure is new to the players.
“When you play as Italian champions, you are a target and a stimulus for everyone. This year we play under pressure in every match. This team has no experience to play as Italian champions,” he said.
“That’s why these ups and downs come. We weren’t able to keep the level high for all the matches, we weren’t able to stay at our best all the time.”
Milan need to take another step forward on a mental level from being a team that wins against the odds to one that also wins with a target on its back. This year the Scudetto is gone, but qualification for the next Champions League is fundamental.