Massimiliano Allegri claims he is satisfied with the performance of his AC Milan players in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Cagliari but believes the team's inexperience cost it all three points.
Mario Balotelli's late penalty rescued the Rossoneri a share of the spoils after Victor Ibarbo had put the Sardinians in the lead on the stroke of halftime, and their boss is adamant that naivety cost them against his former club.
"Today we had four players on the pitch that were born in 1992. With a little more experience, we would have not conceded the goal," he told reporters after the match. "El Shaarawy? He's still a boy of just 20 years and so far has pulled all the strings for us, it is normal for him to have dips [in form]. I do not think that there is a compatibility issue with him and Balotelli.
"Ambrosini also played well and I took him off because he was booked and did not want to risk him. Muntari also had a good game despite not playing much recently. Now we hope to secure third place. It would be a great achievement for us. The goal is to develop this team, it is gratifying to have rebuilt this team in the space of four months. No one else is doing it in Europe."
The trainer then reflected on his team's performance at Is Arenas and felt they gave a good account of itself in Sardinia despite the failure to secure a victory that would have put the club only a single point behind Lazio in third place.
"I think it was an intense match from a competitive point of view. We gave away a goal via a free kick 20 seconds from the end of the first half, but I think it's a good point against a good Cagliari side," he added. "We wanted to win but certainly a draw is better than losing. Balotelli? His performance was excellent and has already scored three goals despite not being fully match fit, and even Bojan and Robinho are giving their all to the cause.
"We created many chances in the final third and I think the team are going pretty well. Winning today could have shortened [the gap between us and the top three] but there are still a lot of games to play and we have every chance [of making it]."