Serie A - Allegri: Milan now more of a team

Massimiliano Allegri concedes Juventus will be favourites for the Serie A title, but he’s optimistic about the chances of his youthful Milan side.

Serie A - Allegri: Milan now more of a team

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2013, Milan, Massimiliano Allegri (AP/LaPresse)

“I think it will be a well-balanced championship, but Juve have won the last two Scudetti and bought quality players so they have to be favourites,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Yet I have a squad made up of quality kids and, with respect to last season, we have the advantage of already having been together for a season.

“We are more of a team than we were a year ago. We’ll have Mario Balotelli from the start of the season, we’ve got Nigel De Jong back from injury. And I have faith in Vice-President Adriano Galliani – he usually makes a signing late on in the window.”

Milan have spent the last year looking to rejuvenate their squad and Allegri is happy with what he has at his disposal.

“The youngsters have grown and if individual qualities improve then so does the team’s play,” he added. “If I play kids then it is because they are good, not that I need to launch them.

“Andrea Petagna and Bryan Cristante have started well with the first team squad. But you have to treat youngsters with balance – not overhype them when they do well or criticise them when they make mistakes.

“The kids we have need to mature, but they have qualities. I’m eager to see how Vergara and Gabriel do.”

Allegri was also questioned on the Milan defence after the club opted against making a move for Angelo Ogbonna who is now at Juventus.

“Ogbonna is a good defender. Juve had a great defence and they have improved it. But we have signed Matias Silvestre and the players I have already are good.

“My defence is often criticised, but we didn’t concede that many in the second half of last season. It shows that the team is working well because if you leave your defenders isolated then the best in the world would struggle too.”

Allegri is now in his fourth season at Milan after he escaped the chop at the end of the last campaign.

“President Silvio Berlusconi, Galliani and I spoke to each other and decided to continue,” he explained. “For me, this is a new challenge.”

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