Allegri settles for derby draw
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said he was happy with their 1-1 Serie A draw against Inter Milan on Sunday.
After Stephan El Shaarawy broke the deadlock, the Rossoneri spurned a number of openings that could have put them out of sight by half-time, but instead Ezequiel Scheletto equalised to earn Inter a share of the spoils.
And the missed opportunities were not lost on Allegri, who told reporters: "We need to score goals when we get the chance, because we cannot expect to have the game in hand for the entire 90 minutes. We have to take our chances better.
"When a match is hanging by a thread, you have to kill it off. Possession is crucial when you are in control of a game, but we gave the ball away too many times tonight.
"But I'm not angry. I congratulated the boys. I'm happy with what the team has done especially in the first half. Despite dropping a little in intensity after the break, we allowed little and Christian Abbiati made one good save.
"We should've controlled possession better to make Inter run after us, as we ended up doing things that we shouldn't in a game like this. In the first half Inter couldn't get near us and we should've been better with them being tired after the break, but we didn't.
"I think the team remains in good shape and this was an 'away' game against Inter. It's a shame, as we should've won, but then we beat Udinese at the 92nd minute when we deserved a draw, so that is football."
The 45-year-old trainer joked that it was nice of Milan president Silvio Berlusconi to pledge a pay rise to him, and also keeping him in the job earlier in the season.
"I am very happy at Milan and was pleased with the president's words, though I already knew he had faith in me," maintained Allegri.
"He proved that by not firing me after seven rounds. We are in good shape at the moment and hope to continue our form."
Meanwhile, Allegri praised the maturity of Mario Balotelli after he was the victim of persistent verbal abuse throughout the match.
The controversial forward began his career with the Nerazzurri but joined their arch-rivals from Manchester City during the January transfer window, much to the anger of Inter supporters.
"Balotelli did very well not to react to the provocations, I'm just sorry he wasn't able to score," Allegri said.
Nerazzurri fans were at the centre of controversy earlier this month when they launched racist chants about the Italy international in the wake of his move to Milan, resulting in a 15,000-euro fine for the club.
Before Sunday's game, president Massimo Moratti and Inter 'ultras' released statements warning against a repeat of those actions.
The warnings over racism were generally headed though abusive personal banners aimed at Balotelli were on show at San Siro.
Some Inter fans waved inflatable bananas, items which have become a regular sight at Serie A games and not considered to be a representation of racist abuse.
The 22-year-old has scored four times in as many games for the Rossoneri since joining the club.
Inter Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni said he felt a draw was a fair result, and the 37-year-old was proud of how his team turned the game around with their impressive second-half performance.
"Overall it was the right result," Stramaccioni said.
"Milan had a great first half and put us under pressure, but Inter came out with a different attitude and spirit. I think we ended on more of a high than Milan, as they were suffering towards the finish... thanks also to the saves of Samir Handanovic.
"I will admit that in the first half Milan probably went closer to another goal than we did an equaliser. We didn't start that badly as until the goal, Milan were troubling us on the flanks – which we expected – but we were in there."
Inter have endured a poor run of form lately which has seen them fall 14 points behind table-topping Juventus in the title race. However, the coach was quick to defend the displays of his players.
"It's only right that I get criticised, as I am a young coach with no Serie A pedigree, but I think it's unfair when the players are torn apart in the media," he said.
"For example, Lazio lost in an even worse way to Siena, but our team was treated like a disaster area. There are too many extremes in the judgment of this side.
"We've had many injuries this season and have to reinvent the attack once again. Milan are on world-beating form and Inter played their game tonight."
Inter are on an 11-match unbeaten run at home in Serie A and occupy fourth spot in the table, one point behind Milan.