Milan coach Clarence Seedorf maintained he is aiming for European football next season, while he rubbished suggestions he might be sacked.
After three straight defeats in all competitions, including a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, black clouds of despair again surround Milan with the club's ultras planning a protest before the clash with Parma on Sunday.
While the protest reportedly will target Milan striker Mario Balotelli and CEO Adriano Galliani, Seedorf's future has also been questioned in the Italian media, not that the 37-year-old Dutchman is worried.
"How many times has a coach been at risk after a few months, despite signing a two-year contract? I am not responsible for the situation that was created. I am here to improve the situation," Seedorf, who was appointed coach in January after Massimiliano Allegri was sacked, told Milan's own TV channel.
"I have a contract, the club has faith in me and I am trying to give my best.
"There was a lot of work to do here, so I am certain that with me the club will construct a strong Milan for future seasons.
"It doesn’t matter if you are not optimistic, because I am."
Milan host Parma on Sunday and desperately need a win if they are to bridge a 10-point gap to fifth-placed Fiorentina before the end of the season.
Fiorentina sit in Serie A's final qualification berth for next season's Europa League, which Seedorf considers the minimum acceptable finish for Milan.
"When I got here, I did not find a team in good physical or psychological shape. We can't think everything will improve straight away," Seedorf said.
"The players are improving but results have not been consistent, so that is what we are looking for now.
"We have to turn the page, target European qualification and focus only on what happens on the field."
Many in Italy have blamed Balotelli for Milan's 5-1 aggregate loss to Atletico in the Champions League's round-of-16 but Seedorf denied the 23-year-old striker would be punished.
"Do I use the carrot or the stick? I only use the carrot," the 37-year-old said.
"When there's the need to check on a situation, I do it, but my philosophy is to face everything with a smile.
"Will I punish him (Balotelli)? I want a rapport between adults, not between an adult and a child."
|34||N. de Jong|
|Coach: C. Seedorf|
for M. Essien 8'
for U. Emanuelson 53'
for D. Bonera 66'
|Koeman slams ´crazy´ Christmas fixture list|
|Iniesta, Vermaelen unavailable for Cyprus trip|
|Zenit v Benfica: Pereira, Lima set to return for Portuguese champions|
|Inzaghi sorry for derby stalemate|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Medellin on cusp of final, Santa Fe deny Huila|
|Mancini ´very happy´ with derby draw|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Sporting Cristal beaten|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Late Blooming spark sends Oriente second|
|Venezuelan Primera Division Review: Trujillanos stay top, Metropolitanos embarrassed|
|Liga MX Review: Pachuca, Pumas UNAM reach play-offs|
|MLS Review: Wins for Galaxy, Revolution|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Top three fail to score, Olmedo win big|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro retain title|
|Chilean Primera Division Review: Universidad Chile held, Colo Colo go top|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Cartagines into fourth|
|Uruguayan Primera Division Review: Champions Nacional win again|
|Ligue 1 Review: Marseille come from behind, Nantes extend unbeaten run|
|La Liga Review: Valencia suffer derby defeat, Rayo Vallecano beat Celta Vigo|
|Serie A Review: Mancini´s Inter rescue derby draw|
|Milan 1 Inter 1: Draw for Mancini on return|
|Pochettino wants home comforts|
|Bundesliga Review: Hamburg secure derby win, Stuttgart beaten again|
|Bruce disappointed with Vertonghen reaction|
|Eriksen backing Tottenham to kick on|
|Hull City 1 Tottenham 2: Eriksen snatches late winner after Ramirez sees red|
|Eredivisie Review: De Leeuw denies leaders PSV, Heracles secure timely win|
|Rodgers takes responsibility for Liverpool slump|
|Falcao ready for United return|
|Warnock basks in Palace display|
|Fabregas calls for ruthlessness|
|Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 1: Rodgers´ men stumble at Palace again|
|Partick Thistle 0 Aberdeen 1: Rooney spot on for visitors|
|Reus blow for Dortmund|
|Mulvey leaves Roar post|
|Shakhtar Donetsk v Athletic Bilbao: Bernard eyes fast start|
|Forster urges Southampton to build|
|Sporting v Maribor: Montero out to continue hot streak|
|Schalke v Chelsea: Chance of revenge for Di Matteo|
|Manchester City v Bayern Munich: Pellegrini putting pressure on himself|
|Mourinho guards against Chelsea complacency|
|Rodriguez urges Real focus|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Ajax: Dutch outfit quietly confident|
|APOEL v Barcelona: Xavi seeks further improvement|
|Gotze basks in Bayern form|
|Tevez wants domestic form replicated in Europe|
|Mixed news on Naismith for Everton|
|Central Coast Mariners 0 Adelaide United 2: Sanchez nets brace for visitors|
|Can full of praise for Gerrard|
|BATE v Porto: Visitors eye top spot|
|CSKA Moscow v Roma: Italians eye qualification|
|Simeone lauds Atletico display|
|Messi the best ever - Luis Enrique|
|Eredivisie Review: Feyenoord make Peersman pay, Ajax beat Heerenveen|
|La Liga Review: Real Madrid, Barcelona win big|
|Allegri lauds Pogba performance|
|Messi pays homage after record-breaking day|
|Messi the record breaker|
|Serie A Review: Top two both victorious|
|Taylor hints that knee injury not as bad as first feared|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lyon stumble against Bastia|
|Van Gaal critical of United despite win|
|Lazio 0 Juventus 3: Pogba and Tevez star as champions dominate|
|Wenger frustrated by wasteful Arsenal defeat|
|Barcelona 5 Sevilla 1: Messi breaks La Liga record as Barca cruise|
|Garcia delighted with Ljajic display|
|League One Review: Swindon close the gap at the top, Yeovil off the bottom|
|Messi breaks La Liga goal record|
|Ancelotti: Isco a ´perfect´ Modric replacement|
|Bundesliga Review: Wolfsburg slip helps move Bayern well clear|
|Rooney revels in success of counter-attack ploy|
|Tiago: Malaga scalp proves we´re great|
|Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2: Rooney seals Van Gaal´s maiden away win|
|Reus injury angers Klopp|
|Schweinsteiger pays tribute to Bayern fans|
|Pellegrini salutes Toure´s attitude|
|Hughes laments Stoke´s slow start|
|Allardyce frustrated after Everton defeat|
|We deserved more - Redknapp|
|Irvine: Yacob can have no complaints|
|League Two Review: Luton run ended by Burton, Wycombe go top|
|Eibar 0 Real Madrid 4: Relentless Real win again|
|Poyet defends Cattermole over Cambiasso tackle|
|Dyche hails Burnley resolve|
|Martinez hails ´satisfying´ Everton triumph|
|Pearson sure of Leicester survival|
|Gomis earns Monk forgiveness for late miss|
|Pardew full of praise for Sissoko|
|Mourinho lauds ´beautiful´ Chelsea display|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Guidetti strikes again for Celtic, top four all win|
|Championship Review: Bamford denies Mackay´s Wigan, Derby extend lead|
|Aston Villa v Southampton: Koeman eyes international swagger|
|Newcastle United 1 QPR 0: Skipper Sissoko seals fifth straight win|
|Leicester City 0 Sunderland 0: Hosts´ goal drought continues|
|Stoke City 1 Burnley 2: Ings at the double as visitors hold on|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Malaga 1: Unconvincing champions halt in-form visitors|
|Everton 2 West Ham 1: Osman celebrates landmark with winner|
|Manchester City 2 Swansea 1: Toure seals comeback win for champions|
|Chelsea 2 West Brom 0: Yacob sees red as leaders march on|
|Paderborn 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Reus injury leads to Dortmund capitulation|
|Bayern Munich 4 Hoffenheim 0: Champions move seven clear|
|Bielsa not concerned by Marseille investigation|
|Mancini buoyed by Inter preparations|
|Benitez rules out Liverpool return|
|Hertha prepared for Kalou absence|
|Montella confident despite Fiorentina pressures|
|Injured Alex out of Milan derby|
|Pochettino wants versatility from Dier|
|Van Gaal will not take risks with Falcao fitness|
|A-League Review: Sydney keep pressure on at top|
|K. League Review: Sangju Sangmu all but down, Gyeongnam remain in danger|
|J.League Review: Gamba deny title-chasing Urawa, Ventforet ensure safety|
|Rabiot thrilled with PSG return|
|Sterling wants long Liverpool stay|
|Poyet: I thought Cattermole would ´shoot´ me|
|Simeone: Cerci interest compliments Atletico|
|Blanc: ´I was confident´ of PSG win|
|Silva sidelined for crucial City-Bayern clash|
|Lambert would ´love´ to keep Vlaar, slams agent|