AC Milan head coach Vincenzo Montella has vowed to fight on despite rumours circling around his future at the club following a disappointing start to the season.
The new Rossoneri hierarchy invested heavily over the summer in their bid to make the once Serie A greats challenge again, with over £175m departing San Siro and 11 new faces arriving in return.
However, it has not been the opening the Milan chiefs would have hoped for, with their side currently lying eighth in the Italian top-flight, 12 points behind fourth-placed Lazio and 15 removed from league leaders Napoli.
From this, Montella has received an abundance of criticism, with doubts cast over the 43-year-old's ability to re-inject the success of past years back into the sleeping giants.
There has even been speculation that failing to pick up maximum points at Sassuolo this weekend would spell the end of the Italian's tenure with the club, following their drab goalless Europa League draw with AEK Athens on Thursday.
However, the former Fiorentina manager is confident in his ability to turn things around and has insisted he will continue to fight on.
"The players are eager to work to improve", Montella told the pre-match press conference, as cited by FourFourTwo.
"The club management has always backed me. This team has great potential. In Athens, we didn't play a good first half. We need to improve as a group also tactically.
"I am focused only on the match. I am not thinking about the future. I am convinced I can lead this team.
"I am not tired of the rumours, I am a fighter and focus only on Milan. I know full well there are peaks and troughs in football. It's part of football and I know perfectly well how things go.
"The numbers are not right but I think we can start our climb to fourth place with a nice victory."