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Football Whispers
 By Ben Gladwell

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella hits back at Silvio Berlusconi remarks

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella has hit back at former president Silvio Berlusconi after he claimed he never wanted him to be appointed.

Montella was named Milan coach in 2016, but Berlusconi said he would have preferred Cristian Brocchi to have got the job.

But Montella, who worked under Berlusconi until he sold the club in April, said the 81-year-old can "say what he wants."

"The remarks he has made need to be placed in context," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "This is my job and the choices I make are autonomous.

"I like to listen to and act on advice, but the [advice] Berlusconi gave me last year was not much good, while other [advice] I would take on board and use."

Milan are currently seventh in Serie A, with Montella under pressure following a summer in which major investment was made and a top-four finish declared the objective.

But he has been backed by general manager Marco Fassone ahead of the city derby with Inter on Sunday.

"We rate him and have faith in him," La Stampa reported Fassone as saying at a Lega Serie A meeting.

"We have a long-term project in place with him and we extended his contract [in the summer] knowing that it would take time before things worked as we wanted them to.

"Let's just hope the wait is as brief as possible. We are a strong side with quality."

Montella thanked Fassone for his backing but said "it would have been enough to tell me in private."

Victory on Saturday would narrow the gap on Inter to four points, but a third straight defeat would see them fall 10 points behind their rivals.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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