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The Italian coach is confident his side will be in a far stronger league position come the midway point of the season and is determined to move on from the Mario Balotelli row

Massimiliano Allegri believes AC Milan's clash with Sampdoria is a must-win game as they look to put their dismal run of form behind them.

Two last-gasp goals earned the Rossoneri a point against Bologna in midweek, although they remain 10 points adrift of current Serie A leaders Roma after just five matches.

Allegri has urged his side to rediscover their winning ways on Saturday but believes they will be in a position to challenge at the top of the table come the midway point of the season.

"If we have five points from five games, it's my fault," he told a press conference on Friday. "We have to concentrate on just doing well. We have a difficult game tomorrow.

"Delio Rossi is an excellent coach and Sampdoria are coming off the back of a good display against Roma. But we have to win.

"I’ll look at the league table at Christmas. I think we will be in a different position by then. We’re a bit behind, but there are still plenty of games left. Let’s just think about winning tomorrow."

Allegri was eager to move on from the fall-out surrounding Mario Balotelli's three-game ban for arguing with officials against Napoli, insisting the striker is aware he must improve his behaviour on the pitch.

"His dismissal happened six days ago, I think we need to stop talking about it now," he said.

"He’s said sorry and now he needs to think about working hard. He needs to improve the way he reacts on the pitch. I hope he knows that and understands that."

Striker Alessandro Matri is likely to deputise for the suspended Balotelli on Saturday despite having failed to score in five appearances for Milan this season, but Allegri is confident he will rediscover his goalscoring touch.

"He [Matri] is working hard," he added. "He had three chances against Bologna, two clear ones, but he has to stay calm as the goals will come."

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