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The defender has emphasised the importance of qualifying for next season’s tournament, stating that it was the players’ duty to fulfill the club’s ambitions

AC Milan defender Daniele Bonera says that qualification for next season’s Europa League is of paramount importance to the club.

With three rounds of the Serie A season remaining, the Rossoneri sit 10th in the table, but they are just one point away from Torino in sixth spot, which will be good enough for a place in Europe given third-placed Napoli are taking on fourth-placed Napoli in the Coppa Italia final.

It has been argued that Milan might actually benefit from a season without any European football but Bonera says that the players are obliged to do all they can to ensure that the San Siro side have continental competition to look forward to for next season.

“We have a duty to go all out and get there,” the centre-half told Tuttosport.

“The club has made this request, it is essential to get into Europe, also for the prestige of the club. It is true, we are all used to making the Champions League, but now we have to think about something else.

“We will have to win all three matches left and then wait and see what our opponents do. Parma are ahead of us on the head-to-head, but there are many teams within two points of each other and there may also be some surprises.”

Bonera is just hoping that Milan's players will be left to concentrate on on-field matters, namely this weekend's crucial derby clash with Inter, rather than have to continually field questions about the future of coach Clarence Seedorf, who is already under pressure despite only taking over in January.

The 32-year-old said: “I do not read the papers anyway. But I think that right now we need to stay focused on the field.

“If we divert mental energy to read or listen to what is said about the coach or the club, we will lose sight of the goal that we are pursuing - the Europa League.

“And it is premature today to talk about a possible change on the bench. In any case, players, coaches, directors, managers, press officers, anyone, they have the duty at Milan to do their best.

“I am convinced that there are grounds for optimism and finally providing joy for our fans. Winning a derby after a period that has been so complicated would provide us with a lot of self-confidence.

“We began the season badly, but the growth has been evident in recent months and this gives us the strength to prepare for the match against Inter.

"We have to be brave and not feel too much pressure and we have to think not about settling the game on our own, but working as a team."

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