AC Milan need to follow Manchester United example - Marco Fassone
AC Milan general manager Marco Fassone says his club must follow the example of Manchester United and aim for Europa League success to realise their objective of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
United ensured there were five English clubs in this season's Champions League by lifting the Europa League in May, having finished outside the top four in the Premier League.
Milan are currently seventh in Serie A, 11 points behind fourth-placed Roma, who have a game in hand, and set to miss out on qualifying for the Champions League via their league position.
If they do miss out, Fassone admits they may have to sell players in the summer, but he says they should try to emulate United by going all the way in Europe.
"Obviously Manchester United are an example that we want to bear in mind," he told RAI Radio after the Rossoneri were drawn against Ludogorets in the round of 32 of the Europa League. "That's the only trophy that we're lacking in the cabinet, and then if you consider where we are in the league, we want to give it a try.
"We know there are teams who are better equipped than we are, but let's not forget also that when the Europa League restarts in February, [coach Gennaro] Gattuso's ideas will have had time to bed in."
Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella earlier this month and Fassone says more bad results are to be expected before things take a turn for the better.
"It's too soon to say [there is light at the end of the tunnel]," Fassone said. "I'm expecting a complicated month of December due to the change in coach, because changes don't always bring clear improvements in the short term.
"When you take this kind of decision, you can never tell what will happen. We've taken this decision because we saw we were lagging behind our expectations, and we hope we've got it right."
Should Milan fail to enjoy an upturn in results, they are likely to have to balance the books after almost €230 million was committed to new players last summer.
"If Milan don't manage to hit the revenue we expected, including what we had expected from the Champions League, then we would have to revise some of our strategies in the transfer market," Fassone added.
"Qualifying for the Europa League would mean a deficit of €30m on our financial plans and this would mean having €30m less in the transfer market.
"As a result, we would maybe also have to think about selling a player to increase our budget."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.