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‘AC Milan need to improve in every aspect’

24 July 2015, 18:48

Shenzhen - Sinisa Mihajlovic is under no illusion about the enormity of the task at hand as he plots to turn around the fortunes of fallen Italian giants AC Milan.

"There's a lot of anger [about the club's situation] but we have to improve in every aspect," Mihajlovic said Thursday. "Most important [to improve] is the sacrifice and the intensity we have for each other."

The 46-year-old Serb only took the reigns at AC Milan on June 16 - lured across after a stint in charge of Sampdoria - and has brought his squad to China for the International Champions Cup, where they will meet cross-town rivals Inter Milan here at the Shenzhen Universade Sports Centre on Saturday night before facing Real Madrid at the Shanghai Stadium on July 30.

Mihajlovic has brought four new faces with him -- off-season signings Andrea Bertolacci, Jose Mauri, Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano - while the pre-season rumour mill has continued to grind out stories of more signings to come, including that of Paris Saint-Germain hitman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scorer of 42 goals during a two-season stint with Rossoneri from 2010-2012.

Also read: Milan to sign Sevilla striker Bacca

Speaking at a press conference after overseeing a brisk one-hour workout in stifling humidity, Mihajlovic must have expected a question about the Swedish striker would come - he got the gist of it even before it was translated from Chinese - and he brushed it off expertly, saying such matters were beyond his control but he would welcome any player who could make a difference.

The real challenge to come, he said, was changing the mind-set of a club that has seemed to lose its way in recent years, finishing 10th last season and having not won the Scudetto since 2010-11.

"Of course there are a lot of things to improve in the squad - the intensity of play, the work ethic - but at the end of the day it is important that you have to sacrifice yourself for the other players. That's the key to success," said Mihajlovic.

All four new players are expected to get a run out against Inter on Saturday as the visiting clubs use the International Champions Cup to intensify their pre-season conditioning programmes.

Inter boss Roberto Mancini tried that formula in his club's first blow out here, a lackluster 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Shanghai on Tuesday that saw both teams call on almost every player they brought with them.

Mancini is also looking for inspiration after Inter finished a disappointing eight in the Serie A last season - they have not lifted a domestic crown since 2009-10 - and he said after a training hitout Thursday that more attacking options were being looked at in the transfer market.

Reports Thursday had fringe Manchester City frontman Stevan Jovetic making the move for around 15 million euros but Mancini said nothing had yet been set in stone.

"We need more forwards, everyone knows that," he said. "But for now it is important for us to focus on AC Milan, to put more minutes in our legs and we are playing two games in 48 hours [Inter face Real in Guangzhou on Monday] so probably we will change all the team for both games."

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