Seedorf calls for fighting spirit

AC Milan let a 1-0 lead slip to lose the Coppa Italia quarter-final at San Siro, but their new coach insists he has seen some promising signs from the team's efforts
Clarence Seedorf has called on AC Milan to work hard to reverse their fortunes after they were put out of the Coppa Italia by Udinese.

Milan took an early lead in Wednesday's clash through Mario Balotelli, but a penalty from Luis Muriel and a fine solo effort from substitute Nico Lopez handed the visitors a place in the semi-finals.

Seedorf admits the team are struggling for consistency in their play, but has stressed he has seen enough from the squad to be optimistic about the near future.

"The whole team worked hard, but when they get tired and stretched out it's an old story in football," the former Netherlands international told Rai Sport.

"We are not yet able to be consistent in terms of our football, but I saw interesting things today that leave me optimistic we'll be able to improve the situation.

"I said in the first few days that we know our fans have Rossoneri hearts. When you play for a big club, you know the demands are high, but I told the lads to be as calm as possible. I want hard work and effort to turn the situation around; I said one victory wouldn't change everything.

"I saw some positive things tonight and others we need to work on. I am getting to know the players on the field, in the locker room and in training, so together we can build a new type of football.

"In football you can have the strongest defence in the world, but if the whole team doesn't contribute then they are going to be exposed. In the first 30 minutes against Verona and again here we held possession in the opposition half, but it takes time to be consistent in this approach.

"I think all players at certain moments understand the situation and can come back to help out. Mario did that a lot tonight."

Seedorf was also unwilling to discuss potential activity in the remaining days of the transfer window but hinted he is fully confident that any plans for investment in the squad would be backed to the hilt.

"I think questions about the transfer market should be aimed at [vice-president] Adriano Galliani," he said.

"I think after this game it is important to give a sense of balance to the lads in the locker room. I need them all and it's not right at this moment to discuss the market.

"The focus now is to give the players a sense of a project that takes time to build. I am convinced Milan will take every step to make this team stronger."