MILAN // AC Milan finally got off the mark in Serie A with an emphatic 4-1 defeat of early-season leaders Lazio at the San Siro, but their coach Carlo Ancelotti was staying cautious after a poor start to the campaign. Milan's first league win came hot on the heels of their 3-1 victory over Zurich in the Uefa Cup, but prior to that, they had been beaten by both Bologna and Genoa and the pressure had been mounting on their coach.
"I think we have done a lot of work to get out of this moment, but you can fall back into a bad spell just as quickly as you got out of it, so we have got to be careful," he said. "If you say that we will play like this all season, then I would sign for that now. If we are always like this, then it is hard to lose games." Ancelotti left big signings Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko out of his starting XI, preferring to stick with Marco Borriello, who impressed against Zurich on Thursday.
And the former Genoa striker received particular praise from his coach. "I am not interested in how many goals Borriello scores this season. What I do want to see is how he works for the team and I have got to say that he did really well," said Ancelotti. "I was happy with the application of everybody, particularly seeing Borriello track back into our penalty area. I said I wanted to see attention and desire and that was evident."
Clarence Seedorf broke the deadlock after eight minutes and while on-loan striker Mauro Zarate equalised after 26 minutes for Lazio, the Rossoneri put their woes firmly behind them with a smart finish from Gianluca Zambrotta before second-half goals from Brazil duo Pato and Kaka. Lazio coach Delio Rossi is refusing to read too much into the defeat. He said: "We have got to work, but I did not believe we were a great team after two wins of the season and we are not a terrible team after losing to Milan."
The win has lifted Milan to 15th in the standings, four points behind joint Serie A leaders Inter Milan and Juventus. Meanwhile, the Inter president Massimo Moratti, whose side play AC in the weekend's derby, is full of praise for the work done by coach Jose Mourinho so far. "I believe I have signed the best coach," said Moratti. "He adapts well to the situation, he has a strong personality, he leads the pack. We like him as an image of our club but the most important thing is the job he does on the pitch and for that I am extremely satisfied."
The Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli said midfielder Riccardo Montolivo will not be sold to West Ham or any other club in January. New Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola is a great admirer of the Italian playmaker and reports in England have linked the 23-year-old with a move to Upton Park in January in a transfer deal worth £12million (Dh81m). "West Ham wants Montolivo?" Prandelli said when asked about the situation. "This season he will make the leap in quality here. Twelve million is not a great offer."
* PA Sport