Football

Published: Monday March 17, 2014 MYT 5:47:02 AM
Updated: Monday March 17, 2014 MYT 5:47:36 AM

Milan ultras meet players, coach to air grievances

(Reuters) - AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf and some of his players met a group of the team's ultra supporters to listen to their grievances following the 4-2 home defeat by Parma in Serie A on Sunday.

"It was a very peaceful meeting, nothing in particular," the Dutchman told Sky Sport Italia. "After two years of suffering, they wanted to express their feelings.

"I just went to watch. There is great respect for the Milan shirt on the part of everyone. Sometimes it helps just to listen and give the fans a voice, so they know we hear them.

"I experienced something similar when I was at Botafogo (in Brazil)," he added. "If they feel the fans are helping, the team will react."

Local media said forward Mario Balotelli and playmaker Kaka were among the players who met the fans' representatives in a room inside the stadium.

Milan fans are angry with the team's campaign after they dropped to 12th in Serie A and were knocked out of the Champions League following a 4-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Seedorf's side have lost their last four games in all competitions.

Around 300 fans waited outside the entrance before the game and jeered and protested when the team bus entered the stadium.

They also left part of the San Siro stadium's Curva Sud empty in another protest at the team's performances.

Chief executive Adriano Galliani, criticised for the club's recent signings, and Balotelli were the main targets of the protests.

"Of course it hurts, especially as people ought to remember this team's past," Galliani told Sky before the game. "Over the last decade we've been the only Italian side regularly in Europe.

"I am disappointed and I certainly don't like to see the fans against the team and part of the club, but I continue smiling."

Seedorf, who abandoned his playing career to join Milan for his first coaching job January, told the post-match press conference that his team had to get out of a negative spiral.

"I continue believing that we can change course and finish the season on a high, then we can build a competitive Milan," he told reporters.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond

Reuters Messaging: brian.homewood.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net. To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum.)

(Reporting by Brian Homewood) nL3N0MD0EJ

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