Milan boss Stefano Pioli praised the character of his players for digging deep to keep their winning run going with a 1-0 victory at Brescia.
Ante Rebic was the match-winning hero for Milan for the second week running, the second-half substitute blasting home 19 minutes from time to lift his side up to sixth.
The Rossoneri had to ride their luck in Friday's clash at Stadio Mario Rigamonti, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma producing a series of fine saves prior to Rebic's winner.
And Pioli admitted it was far from a convincing display by his side, even though Theo Hernandez nearly added a second late on when striking the crossbar.
"It was not a beautiful Milan performance," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We know we can play better, but we had a great attitude and showed we know how to suffer.
"We must continue like this. I am satisfied with the mentality and it must remain the same. From a tactical and technical point of view, we have to do more.
"We are a completely different team to the start of the season, both on the pitch and in terms of attitude. Even tonight we understood how tough Serie A can be."
Lucas Paqueta was left out of Milan's squad amid suggestions he has asked for a move away, and Pioli is not ruling out further transfer business before the window shuts.
"Lucas is going through a difficult moment. I would have preferred to take him, but yesterday the situation was not clear. If there are exits then there will be arrivals."
Donnarumma was equal to two Ernesto Torregrossa shots in the space of 23 seconds and also kept out attempts from Florian Aye and Dimitri Bisoli either side of half-time.
Milan have kept four clean sheets in five unbeaten matches in 2020 and Donnarumma is now eyeing fourth-place Roma, who are seven points better off with a game in hand.
"We knew that coming to Brescia was not going to be easy, so it took a great game from everyone," he told Sky Sport Italia.
"We are more compact at the back. We work in training to achieve this, but it is thanks to the whole team.
"Our goal now is to qualify for Europe. We must continue like this and not relax. We take it game by game and won't stop.
"We have to win as many games as possible and then at the end of the season we will see."
Brescia were without suspended striker Mario Balotelli against his former club and will rue an inability to convert their chances.
Eugenio Corini's charges are now winless in six Serie A matches and remain one point from safety, but the Italian coach vowed to fight until the end to keep his side in the top flight.
"It is very hard to digest," he said at his post-match news conference. "We will take the good from what we have done so far and must continue.
"It is easy to be frustrated, but inside the pain we have to find some motivation - the season is not over. The fact is that until we are dead we will continue fighting."