Montella finds positives in AC Milan display despite Dortmund defeat
AC Milan may have lost 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund in their opening match of the International Champions Cup, but Vincenzo Montella was pleased with elements of his side's display.
After winning their opening friendly of pre-season 4-0 against Lugano, Milan were outclassed at times in Guangzhou as Dortmund cruised to victory courtesy of Nuri Sahin strike and a double from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
New signings Ricardo Rodriguez, Hakan Calhanoglu, Mateo Musacchio, Fabio Borini and Franck Kessie all featured, but Milan failed to gel for the majority of the match, giving the head coach plenty of work to do ahead of the new Serie A season.
Montella was not disappointed with the performance, though, and spoke of his particular delight in the way his team continued to battle in tough conditions in China.
"We cannot look at the result," said the Milan boss. "I saw a team with application and character. There are things we need to work on, but the spirit is always the same.
"We suffered at times, but we reacted and the young players also did well.
"Overall I see a team that is very confident in the things they do. We were missing several players so I see great potential to improve."
One Milan new boy not in action was Leonardo Bonucci, but he is likely to feature as soon as he meets up with his team-mates and could possibly face Bayern Munich on Saturday.
"He's one of us now in every respect," Montella said of the former Juventus defender.
"It was a great signing by the club and we're happy to have him with us.
"Tomorrow he will arrive and we will evaluate his physical condition and decide who plays and for how many minutes."
After their friendly with Bayern, Milan face Romanian outfit Craiova over two legs in the Europa League third qualifying round, and Montella hopes his side will have built up enough fitness to progress.
"I'd be happy to arrive at 70 per cent," he added. "I hope those who have arrived will be as prepared as us, or even more so.
"It's a fundamental game for us, the priority is to get into the group stage of the Europa League."