Montella praises narrow win over Rijeka

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AC Milan manager Vincenzo Montella said he was happy with Thursday’s Europa League victory against Rijeka, despite their struggles.

The Italian side looked comfortable after goals from Andre Silva and Matteo Musacchio at San Siro, but late goals from Boadu Acosty and Josip Elez drew the Croatians level until Patrick Cutrone struck in stoppage time to seal a 3-2 win.

"It's a great result," Montella told Sky Sport Italia. "Maybe not so much in terms of the scoreline, but it is a great step forward."

"I want to underline the spirit of the team that brought the victory home. There was indescribable joy to see the team play with this energy and determination in the final minute.

"You have to control a match at the 70th minute. We must improve our defensive movements, as we have perhaps struggled a little in terms of temperament under the weight of expectations.

"We've got to grow in the way we handle games. This was a valuable learning experience. I see the glass half-full. We learned some valuable lessons and we won."

Montella is under pressure to deliver results with his new-look and expensively assembled team, and this marks a return to winning ways after losing 2-0 to Sampdoria in Serie A.

That has led to some speculation that he could be replaced by former Rossoneri boss Carlo Ancelotti, who recently left Bayern Munich, but director Massimiliano Mirabelli rejected that idea.

"We have a coach who is younger than Ancelotti and just as talented," Mirabelli told Sky Sport Italia. "We believe in this project with Montella and want to reach the end of this journey with him.

"I understand these things are very tempting for you to write about, but everyone does their own job. We say that we are holding on tight to Montella."