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Apr 19, 2014

Balotelli and Taarabt shine as Seedorf eyes Europe

Despite all the speculation in midweek regarding Clarence Seedorf’s future as Milan coach, the Dutchman was able to help guide the Rossoneri to a fifth consecutive win on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Livorno. The three points move them level with Parma and despite some testing games ahead Milan appear to be gaining confidence.

Seedorf was keen to stress that the final few rounds of the season will now be decisive as along with Parma, city rivals Inter stand in the way of a place in the Europa League. The Milan giants meet in a fortnight and provided that both maintain their current form then it could go a long way to deciding fifth spot.

Mario Balotelli and Adel Taarabt were amongst the goalscorers on Saturday, with the latter producing another impressive performance as he continues to fight to secure a permanent move to Italy. The 24-year-old offers direction and trickery as well as a much needed spark to this team and his link-up play with Balotelli was promising.

- Report: AC Milan 3-0 Livorno - Seedorf: I'm convinced over my future

However, there is a possibility that his form could hand Seedorf a headache over the summer, provided that he does indeed make his move permanent. With Stephan El Shaarawy likely to return before the end of the current campaign, it could be an ideal situation for Seedorf to see how the trio play together.

Although, that in turn would pose questions regarding the likes of Robinho, Valter Birsa and Riccardo Saponara to name but a few, assuming that Kaka also stays and remains a key component of the squad.

Nevertheless, from a more immediate viewpoint, it was important to see the team play with confidence on Saturday, albeit against a team fighting against relegation. Having criticised the manner in which recent results have arrived there was improved movement, passing and balance between the lines this weekend and it should be beneficial moving forward.

Despite the result, the first time since December 2011 that Milan have won five consecutive Serie A games, Seedorf was again quizzed on reports from earlier this week regarding the club possibly moving for Vincenzo Montella or Pippo Inzaghi this summer.

While he was keen to switch the focus on the club regarding his future, there was a sense that he was perhaps slightly frustrated with the fact that he has not been publicly backed amid all the speculation. As noted in a previous post, it would be unfortunate if he were to pay the price for failure to qualify for the Europa League alone, as it appears as though he is finally making some progress with his much talked about philosophy.

On a more positive note, it was interesting that Balotelli set a new personal best in terms of his 14th goal of the season and he was keen to stress that he is happy both on and off the pitch. The Italian international insisted that the dressing room is united and that neither the coach nor the squad are interested in talk outside of the club.

Was there an improvement on Saturday? Has Seedorf done enough to dismiss the rumours? Time will tell.

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow Sumeet on Twitter @italiafooty