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Deulofeu future not down to me, says Montella

15:13 BST 01/04/2017
Gerard Deulofeu Milan Genoa Serie A 18032017
The winger continues to be linked with Barcelona and his coach does not sound optimistic about keeping him at San Siro

AC Milan boss Vincenzo Montella says the future of Gerard Deulofeu is ultimately out of his hands.

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The 23-year-old winger has started to find his feet at San Siro following a January switch from Everton, with one goal and three assists in his last seven Serie A appearances.

Deulofeu's form was rewarded with a Spain call-up and he played a decisive role in the 2-0 friendly win over France in Paris, winning the penalty from which David Silva broke the deadlock before scoring his first senior goal for his country nine minutes later.

Barcelona retain the option to buy Deulofeu back for €12 million and there are widespread reports claiming that they will take up the chance to bring the player back to Camp Nou at the end of the season.

And Montella, speaking ahead of Milan's Serie A clash with Pescara, has conceded that he has little power to influence Deulofeu's future.

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He told a news conference: "He's doing very well. His contract does not depend on me.

"I believe that, in the evaluation of a decision, it's not only the financial issue but also the expectations of the club and the player.

"It depends on what the market is saying, the type of football you want to play. It's very complex.

"I'm delighted for what he did for his country. I hope he can grow even more. We're happy that he is showing off his qualities."

Milan are just two points outside the top six heading into Sunday's meeting with Serie A's bottom club and Montella has urged his players to embrace the "attitude of a big club" as they battle to return to Europe.

"When we have thought that a game was easy on paper, we've tended to get poor results, such as against Udinese and Sampdoria," he said. "When we had a more difficult fixture, we've actually done better.

"That makes this a very dangerous match, especially as Pescara have been able to train under Zdenek Zeman over the last two weeks and focus only on this game.

"We need the attitude of a big club. It's a crucial game to chase that Europa League spot. I remain convinced European qualification depends only on us and there are a lot of head-to-head clashes coming up."

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The match will come too soon for Suso, who has a muscle problem, and midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, who is continuing his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury.

"Suso could train with the team next week but we don't want to put pressure on him," Montella said. "It'll take a few more weeks for Montolivo because he was inactive for so long.

"We've got Gustavo Gomez back and he was able to take part in the full training session. I have to assess players who crossed the ocean for international duty, like Keisuke Honda, Carlos Bacca and Cristian Zapata."