Vincenzo Montella admits to being “moved” by the Milan comeback to beat Sassuolo 4-3, especially as 18-year-old Manuel Locatelli scored.
The Rossoneri had taken the lead, then gone 3-1 behind before an epic fightback to win at San Siro.
“President Silvio Berlusconi congratulated us. The team wanted to dedicate this win to him in the week of his 80th birthday,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.
Montella was sent off for dissent at half-time, so had to watch Locatelli’s debut strike from the stands – and the celebration almost in tears.
“I was angry at half-time because the whistle was blown when we were in the middle of a counter-attack. As for Locatelli, football still moves me to this day and this sport will always give me a strong emotional response.
“I am happy for him, he’s a lad with his head on his shoulders. Now the difficult part comes along, as it’s hard to be a professional football player, but Locatelli has the balanced mentality to achieve it.”
Montella was asked why he opted to substitute captain Riccardo Montolivo.
“Montolivo was our best midfielder in the last three games, but today he seemed to be tiring after the 3-1. It was a choice to put a young lad on there who wouldn’t feel the pressure so much. Good luck also gave us a hand this evening.
“Our team needs specific characteristics to give our best. Today the lads proved they have character and the ability to turn negative situations around against an opponent of great quality.
“We are shaky at the back, but it’s a process and through these performances we will gain confidence and certainty in our tactics. I take this victory with enthusiasm, as the team showed a desire to win and the mental strength to turn it around.”