Milan: AC Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi says he has avoided the wrath of club owner and president Silvio Berlusconi but admits it is high time he dragged the struggling Serie A giants out of their rut.
Milan travel to Lazio on Saturday desperate to make amends for last week`s shock 1-0 home defeat to Atalanta which has dented further the Rossoneri`s push for a place in next season`s Champions League.
The former seven-time European champions were absent from this season`s competition and, with a seven-point deficit to third-placed Napoli and Sampdoria, both on 33 points, Berlusconi is said to be furious.
A dismal Milan were whistled off the park after last week`s San Siro shocker and in the following days Berlusconi was forced to refute reports he could soon put the fallen Serie A giants on the market.
On what is his first senior coaching post, Inzaghi is struggling to match the prolific goalscoring skills that made him a San Siro favourite with the coaching and tactical nous required to get Milan challenging again.
And although he remains in the post for now, he admits it`s time to buckle up and start putting strong words into action.
"I expected to be told off from Berlusconi, but it didn`t happen because he knows we`re all committed and working as hard as he can," Inzaghi told reporters on Friday.
"The president has been calling me twice a day all this week. I know how concerned he is, because it`s not an easy moment for the club.
"But I`m sure we`ll get out of this rut and tomorrow we have to go out and show that. It`s time to put our words into action."
Lazio are one of several teams battling to finish at least third, the last available qualifying spot for the Champions League.
Stefano Pioli`s men sit in fifth place, only two points adrift of Napoli and Sampdoria having seen a six-game unbeaten run ended by the former last week.
"We`re on the ascendancy," insisted Pioli, who indicated he could hand defender Mauricio Dos Santos his debut following his loan move from Sporting Lisbon.
"The only thing that counts is to start putting points on the board again and keep on growing match by match."
Milan also face Lazio next week in the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup.
Inzaghi added: "Every match is decisive for me. We have two tough matches against Lazio but there is still everything to play for.
"Sometimes you simply need one match to turn things around."
Defeat would see Milan pick up no points from two consecutive matches for the first time this season, but Pioli -- whose side would move into third spot ahead of Napoli`s home game against Genoa on Monday -- said he is not concerned.
"What is happening with Milan doesn`t interest me. They have the same objectives as us so we`re not going to let up."