Montella coy over Milan's Europa League credentials
AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella is committed to pursuing Europa League glory despite insisting it is "too early to tell" whether his side are contenders.
The Serie A outfit confirmed their place in the group stage with a 1-0 win at Shkendija on Thursday, completing a 7-0 aggregate victory.
While their passage was effectively stamped with last week's 6-0 thrashing at San Siro, Montella still called on captain Leonardo Bonucci to help make it five from five in competitive matches this term.
And the former Italy striker is adamant the big-spending Serie A side will not treat the Europa League lightly.
"I think a club like Milan has a duty to honour all competitions," Montella told Sky Sport Italia.
"I care about the Europa League, it can be very satisfying, and we should honour every game in every competition.
"I think after two months of work it is still too early for me to tell how strong the side is and therefore also difficult for those on the outside to judge [whether Milan can challenge].
"We have signed so many new players and need to become a team."
It feels good to be back pic.twitter.com/HT4gKImoMG— AC Milan (@acmilan) August 24, 2017
Milan's narrow victory in Skopje came courtesy of Patrick Cutrone's clever 13th-minute goal, the teenager outfoxing Shkendija goalkeeper Kostadin Zahov before tucking away his third goal in as many starts.
The 19-year-old also netted in last weekend's Serie A win over Crotone and Montella, who won 20 international caps, has confirmed the homegrown talent will not be sent out on loan.
"It was a courageous choice to keep Cutrone as he had so many offers this season, but he is earning his place in the Milan squad with his performances and goals," Montella said.
"Cutrone can be on the bench a few times. I had to sit on the bench, so he can too!"