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No chance of the Champions League: Mediocre Milan incapable of another great escape

In the immediate aftermath of AC Milan’s 3-2 defeat to Juventus on Sunday night, Massimiliano Allegri was once again asked about his club’s decision to allow Andrea Pirlo to move to Turin on a free transfer two years ago.

The Rossoneri boss rolled his eyes and said: “It gets boring saying the same things over and over again.”

Yet when it comes to assessing Milan’s hopes of finishing in the top three this season, Allegri just cannot help but repeat himself. “The season is long,” he says. “We were further behind last season,” he says. “There is time to recover,” he says. “Let’s see what position we’re in at Christmas,” he says.

The 46-year-old coach’s continued optimism is both admirable and understandable. And he is right that Milan was, in a way, in a worse position than this at this point last year. After seven rounds of the 2012-13 Serie A season, the Rossoneri had just seven points. This time around, they have eight.

However, there is one crucial difference. This time 12 months ago, Milan was eight points adrift of the Champions League places. Now the club sits 11 points out of third place, which merely underlines the jump in quality so many of Serie A’s top sides have made over the past year.

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