No Milan excuses after international break

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Marco Luzzani/Getty ImagesPhilippe Mexes' second half sending off summed up Milan's frustrating night.

Having been unable to mastermind another late comeback in Turin, Milan fell to a 3-2 defeat to Juventus on Sunday night, and with it went their chances of closing the gap on their rivals ahead of the international break. However, with the injury list clearing, things must improve in a fortnight's time.

Prior to the game, much was made of the necessity for the Rossoneri to play at their pace and dictate the tempo of the game. However, their inconsistency on the ball ensured that was impossible and ultimately saw them surrender an early lead.

- Report: Juventus 3-2 AC Milan

Massimiliano Allegri's side threatened with yet another late show, but it wasn't to be as they slipped to a third defeat in seven games so far this season, and there was a mixed reaction to his post-game comments.

The Milan tactician insisted that it was a good performance, but the difference between the two sides was merely that "we made more mistakes than they did". It is undoubtedly a disappointing result to end what has been a poor start to the campaign, but with key individuals returning there are signs of improvement ahead.

Mario Balotelli will make his comeback from a three-game suspension for the Udinese clash, and the striker will be joined by the likes of Mattia De Sciglio, Stephan El Shaarawy and Kaka at various stages once the players reconvene after the international fixtures.

While the added talent in the attacking third will make Milan far more dangerous than they have been in comparison to the Robinho and Alessandro Matri experiment, there is still a sense of concern when considering the defensive line.

Philippe Mexes will now face a suspension of his own which opens up the possibility of further issues when pairing Cristian Zapata with a new face. However, De Sciglio will certainly add some stability and solidity to the left flank, depending on whether or not Allegri immediately restores him to the line-up.

Criticism continues to be directed at Allegri, and perhaps rightly so, however there are still question marks over the general quality of this Milan squad.

Naturally, as with all top clubs who struggle, comparisons will be drawn with successful teams from the past and that is the case here. Much has already been said about the defence, while you can genuinely question if a midfield consisting of Sulley Muntari and Antonio Nocerino, despite the former's eye for goal, will win you silverware.

With so much ammunition for criticism and unrest in another difficult period for the club, Allegri will draw experience from last season and attempt to lead Milan forward. While he has accepted responsibility for the struggle, questions could and perhaps should be asked of those who have constructed this squad too.

Nevertheless, the more immediate concern will now be about getting the players together after their respective travel commitments and starting afresh. A fully fit Milan squad undoubtedly looks competitive on paper, but it will then ultimately be up to the coach to deliver the results.

What did you make of the performance against Juventus? What can we expect with a fully fit squad after the international break?

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

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