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Soccer-Allegri under pressure again as AC Milan flounder


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By Terry Daley

ROME, Nov 2 (Reuters) - AC Milan will hold a closed training camp after they slumped to their fifth defeat in Serie A this season, prompting a cascade of boos from fans in the sparsely populated San Siro and putting pressure on manager Massimiliano Allegri.

Goals from Fiorentina's Juan Vargas and Borja Valero handed Allegri's side their fifth defeat in Serie A and left them in 10th on 12 points, 16 away from the Champions League places.

Fans vented their anger at the players and the club hierarchy with a cascade of boos and whistles and also unveiled a banner criticising the club's transfer policy, which they feel has left them short in defence and midfield.

"It's not a question of what we did in the transfer market, we've had a lot of injuries and we need to rediscover our balance," said Allegri. "A team can't play as badly as we did."

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani was seen to leave his seat straight after Valero scored, while Sky Sport Italia reported he was seen afterwards in discussion with Barbara Berlusconi, daughter of ambitious president Silvio, who has never had an easy relationship with his coach.

Milan face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, but with no-one expecting anything from the Nou Camp all eyes are on Sunday's trip to bottom side Chievo.

Anything but a win there could push the hierarchy to act.

"Our performances against Barcelona, Udinese and Parma make me believe that we can recover," added Allegri.

The current situation is almost an exact replica of the same point last season when Allegri's future was under question with the side languishing in the bottom half of the table.

That was followed by a run of wins helped by the January signing of Mario Balotelli that saw them qualify for the Champions League.

But with Balotelli struggling with form and his Italy team mates Giampaolo Pazzini and Stephan El Shaarawy injured, Milan look to be in an even stickier spot than last year.

"In football only results matter," said Allegri.

"Often how they are obtained is forgotten but they're the only thing that count."

(Reporting by Terry Daley; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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