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Domestic bliss? Montella targets Serie A resurgence after Europa League success

24 November 2017 00:55

Vincenzo Montella praised his AC Milan players for securing a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League - and now wants them to focus on closing the gap in Serie A.

The Italian side thrashed Austria Wien 5-1 for a second time this season, with strike duo Andre Silva and Patrick Cutrone both scoring twice in the San Siro rout.

The result, coupled with AEK Athens' 2-2 draw with Rijeka, means Milan have secured top spot in Group D with a game to spare.

But while Montella's side have impressed in Europe they are languishing down in seventh place in Serie A, a situation their manager hopes they can now rectify in the coming weeks.

"It was an extremely positive evening and we will honour the final game in the Europa League group phase, as that is what our history demands," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"Qualifying top of the group was the minimum objective. We achieved it, now we turn our focus to making up lost ground in Serie A.

"Milan are in the process of gaining the right mentality, but unfortunately we were improving right as we came across sides like Juventus and Napoli, who are ahead of us right now."

As for the visitors, Wien boss Thorsten Fink felt his side fell apart after taking the lead, albeit the result has not completely ended their hopes of joining Milan in the knockout stages.

The Austrian team can qualify courtesy of a better head-to-head record if they defeat AEK Athens in the final round of group fixtures.

"Our plan worked for 20 minutes. After we scored the goal, we somehow lost our confidence," Fink told UEFA.com.

"We didn't attack anymore and we defended horribly. Anyway, I'm happy that our hopes are still alive."

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