Battling Milan enjoying that winning feeling

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty ImagesRiccardo Montolivo's first half goal was enough to give Milan a rain-drenched win at Chievo.

Another weekend and another three points for Milan, as they sealed a 1-0 win in Verona against Chievo on Saturday evening. While it wasn't the greatest performance of the season, it was an important victory in difficult conditions.

The Rossoneri are now unbeaten in their last 12 games and will await the outcome of Napoli's clash with Torino to determine whether they will be second come Sunday morning.

- Match report: Chievo 0-1 Milan
- Video: Chievo 0-1 Milan (UK/Ireland only)

The objective has always been finishing in the top three in order to secure Champions League football for next season. After Saturday's results, Milan are on course to successfully carry out their task.

With the weather and pitch conspiring against them, Massimiliano Allegri's side again displayed the type of resolve that has seen them overcome test after test. Riccardo Montolivo secured the three points, but the ability to grind out another win was a result of a collective effort.

While every supporter would welcome a goal-laden win every weekend, the Rossoneri are developing a habit of winning regardless of the circumstances. Allegri will undoubtedly prefer more comfortable nights, but it is a great habit to have.

Speaking of tests, Mario Balotelli continues to pass them with flying colours in the face of more provocation. Arguably singled out as a victim of numerous fouls from the Chievo backline, but for a momentary lapse in the first half he handled himself well.

"He's a great talent and has improved in terms of his behaviour, as he was kicked a few times today and stayed quiet. Mario is playing with enthusiasm, he feels like a protagonist at Milan and I think he can do much more, as the quality is remarkable," Allegri told reporters after the game.

Having peppered the Chievo goal with endless free kicks all night, one of which allowed Montolivo to tap home the winning goal, Balotelli led the line admirably and was a commanding presence.

There was more frustration for Stephan El Shaarawy though, who despite playing well, is still lacking a goal. By no means is it a criticism considering his overall contribution, but there is an almost desperate hope in order to settle his doubts and overcome that disappointment.

Allegri again reiterated his advice for the youngster "to relax and not play for the goal at all times", but it is easier said than done for a 20-year-old desperate to continually improve and impress his newfound fans this season.

Results elsewhere on Saturday have given the Rossoneri a six point lead over nearest rivals Fiorentina, and they meet next Sunday at the Franchi. As discussed in previous blogs, the next three weeks will be pivotal in Milan's season, and could define how the campaign is remembered.

Napoli and Juventus wait thereafter, but looking at the immediate scenario it was important that the international break didn't disrupt the run. Milan are demonstrating a real solidity as they work as a unit and march on in their quest to finish second come the end of May.

Are you impressed with how Milan are playing? Who was your man of the match against Chievo?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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