Montella defends Donnarumma after howler means draw for Milan

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Gianluigi Donnarumma's mistake against Pescara proved costly as AC Milan had to settle for a draw.

Vincenzo Montella admitted Gianluigi Donnarumma's error against Pescara was unlikely to raise a laugh in the AC Milan dressing room after they failed to come back and claim three points.

Donnarumma misjudged Gabriel Paletta's firm backpass, allowing the ball to squeeze under his foot and over the line to hand the struggling hosts the lead, with Mario Pasalic rescuing a 1-1 draw for Milan, who remain in seventh place.

WATCH: Donnarumma makes rare howler

The 18-year-old's first appearance since becoming Italy's youngest starting goalkeeper will be remembered for the howler and Montella offered some cold comfort, suggesting it would have been quickly forgotten had his side gone on to win.

"Mistakes can happen. Gigio needs to relax," Montella told Mediaset Premium. "If we had won the game, we would have had a laugh about it. 

"There was a misunderstanding, Paletta was being pressed and Donnarumma was in the right position, he just got the first touch wrong."

Dropping two points at bottom club Pescara dealt Milan's European hopes a blow, especially as Lazio and Atalanta recorded wins, but Montella believes they can still force their way into Serie A's qualification places.

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"The race for Europe is not over, but I hope that those above us in the table think it is," Montella said. "I am convinced we'll be in it to the very end. We lost one set, to use a tennis term, but there are others still to be played.

"Towards the end we created three or four important chances and we didn't make the most of them. Today pride was not enough, we just needed to move the ball around quicker. 

"We got stretched out, Pescara did well. It's a draw that we accept and we look to the next games with optimism."

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