Mark van Bommel: AC Milan remain the team to beat

The veteran Dutchman is confident that they will continue to dominate Italian football in the new season and is hopeful of achieving success in Europe too
AC Milan midfielder Mark van Bommel believes that they will retain the Serie A title in the 2011-12 campaign.

Massimiliano Allegri's side won the Scudetto last season for the first time since 2004 and have reinforced their squad with the recruitment of a number of players including Philippe Mexes, Taye Taiwo and Stephan El Shaarawy. However, Milan saw playmaker Andrea Pirlo leave for Juventus earlier this summer.

But Van Bommel, who joined the San Siro club from Bayern Munich on a free transfer in January on a six-month contract and signed a one year extension in May, remains confident of achieving success without the veteran Italian.

"I have no doubts that we are still the team to beat," Van Bommel told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We are the Italian champions and with respect to last season, we have only lost one great player in Andrea Pirlo.

"We have a good team that last year did well in Italy against great rivals like Napoli and Inter. If we play as we did last season, we can even win in Europe."

Milan finished six points ahead of their rivals Inter in pole position in Serie A last season but were knocked out by Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League.

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