By 90Min
November 02, 2017

Under pressure AC Milan manager Vincenzo Montella has admitted this season has been more difficult than expected ahead of the club's Europa League tie against AEK Athens on Thursday.

While Milan are top of their Europa League group, they are only eighth in Serie A, fifteen points behind league leaders Napoli. 

Speaking at a press conference, Montella responded to his critics and speculation about his future. 

"The last seasons have been very difficult," Montella explained, "and big changes have been made. We need positive results. I'm convinced we will bounce back if we keep working hard to win."

This summer marked a big change by Milan, in which they spent around €200m on a squad overhaul. Some of these new signings, such as £35m Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus, have endured a difficult start to their career in Milan. 

Bonucci is, however, available to start for Milan this weekend following a two match suspension. 

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

"Maybe the break was good for him from a mental and physical point of view," Montella added. "It’s reasonable to criticise a player but not the way he was questioned. We strongly believe in Leo."

After five defeats from eleven Serie A games, Montella job has been under pressure for so far failing to deliver results despite the huge summer spending. But Montella has said he does not feel under pressure in Milan.

"I'm calm, I know the risks of this job, but I feel the support of the management. The club needs results and I do as well."

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

"I was expecting difficulties along the way but not so many. Actually, I think I am handling well the situation because compared to last year, this season’s critics are more justified."

Victory in Athens will edge Milan closer to qualification from their Europa League group. They face Sassuolo in the Serie A on Sunday where they will hope to change their fortunes after last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Juventus.

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