Montella plays down title expectations

AC Milan boss Vincenzo Montella heaped praise on Roma as he played down his side’s Serie A title chances, following their 1-0 loss at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday night.

Radja Nainggolan sealed the win with a sublime 62nd-minute goal after Mbaye Niang had missed a 27th-minute penalty.

After the game, Montella explained that while his side should have taken something from this tie, he nonetheless applauded their performance.

He told Milan TV: "Scoring the penalty would have been very important but it didn't happen. We played a good game both in the first and the second half.

"Roma have the best attack in the league with great players, experienced and even though they were coming off a positive stretch at home they didn't give me the impression they could overwhelm us.

"The match was decided by a great shot by Nainggolan, well done to him. We tried to bounce back attacking immediately after we conceded the goal, but we were a bit disorganised.

"I think the team played great if you think about the opponent we were facing and the league position we have. These guys, who are only 23 years old on average, are playing many important matches in a short period of time.

"We are of course disappointed, especially the players but I want to compliment them on the match they played, well done."

Montella added that it is too early for Milan to be thinking about winning the league.

"I don't think we can fight to win the Scudetto, we are only at the beginning of our path. If we win against Atalanta we will be 7 points clear the sixth place, it would be important for our European ambitions.

"Over these first 16 games I still haven't found a team that has played better than us. We know we can do well and that's how we are doing this good. We are improving but so are our opponents".

Milan are currently third in the standings with 32 points. Leaders, Juventus have 39 and Roma in second have 35 points, from 16 games.