AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has admitted he is concerned about the prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League next season after a 13-point deficit opened up on the top three.
A 1-1 draw with Lazio on Wednesday night saw the Rossoneri slip further behind with Napoli and Juventus both winning their midweek matches and Roma able to pull further away on Thursday night.
On current form, it appears winning the Champions League this season could be Milan’s most feasible route of returning to the competition next season.
"It’s a very bad moment for us," Allegri told Sky television. "The only way out of it is by working hard, but of course we’re now a long way off third place. They’re going at a rate of knots up at the top and if they carry on like this, it’s going to be impossible for us to go and catch them.
"What we really needed was to get back to winning ways, and now we’re going to have to try to climb the table starting with the Fiorentina game. But if we play like this, we’ll get good results."
Despite losing further ground on the top three -- and seven points now separate them from the top five -- Allegri can be buoyed by the form of Kaka on his return to action.
After an impressive 70 minutes against Barcelona, he opened his Milan account in his second spell for the Rossoneri on Wednesday night, claiming he has regained his love of the game since returning to Italy.
"I’m delighted to have scored again at the San Siro," he said. "It’s a special emotion. I’m sorry about the result, but I had some difficult times at Real Madrid and now this is a beautiful moment in which I’ve rediscovered my joy of playing football.
"I need to thank Milan and the fans for this second chance. I want to play in another World Cup and, for this, I need to do well at Milan, and I’m trying to do my best. I see things are getting better"