AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has bemoaned his side's inability to make light work of Genoa despite the club running away with a 2-0 victory on Friday.
Allegri was left fuming as a red card to Kevin Constant soured the victory – secured through goals to Giampaolo Pazzini and Mario Balotelli – that keeps AC Milan in the hunt for the Serie A crown.
And Allegri fears Constant's ill discipline could cost the Rossoneri more pain further down the track, with the remaining Milan players forced to work much harder through the midfielder's absence.
"I thought we could have closed the match without using too much energy, but the sending off complicated things and made us struggle at the end," he told Sky Sport. "At this stage of the season we can't afford such behaviour seeing as second place and the quarter-finals of the Champions League are on the line.
"Tuesday we will go to Barcelona to play against the best team in the world and we will need our energy. Genoa did very well and we struggled to close down (Daniel) Toszer who found life easy in the middle."
However, Allegri said he was pleased with a performance which gives the club hope of catching league leaders Juventus and second-place Napoli. It also gave the Milan coach a chance to assess injury worries affecting a number of his players.
"We had very few difficulties in the first half and were defending in an orderly fashion, while they were more dangerous in the second half," Allegri said. "The important thing was to win to give us a boost in the standings and to get back to winning on the road.
"We must defend the third spot and maybe look even higher up if Napoli concede points to us, even if it will not be easy. Balotelli didn't have 80 minutes in his legs but he fought and helped us. He must improve his conditioning, but he will do that with work on the field in the coming weeks.
"Today he came on because Pazzini was injured or else he would have played one half. He (Pazzini) and Mexes will be evaluated in the coming days as I took them off for precautionary reasons."