McLoughlin makes Walsall switch

McLoughlin makes Walsall switch

Published Jan. 14, 2013 7:15 a.m. ET

AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri took some comfort from a rare clean sheet despite his side's failure to beat a spirited Sampdoria on Sunday night.

Milan were perhaps lucky to avoid defeat at the Marassi as a rejuvenated Samp dominated proceedings, with Mauro Icardi, Andrea Poli and Daniele Gastaldello all spurning clear-cut chances to complete a first league double over the Diavolo since the 1996-97 season.

Following last night's stalemate, seventh-placed Milan have only kept four clean sheets in the current Serie A campaign, but Allegri believes his side still have an excellent chance of qualifying for Europe.

He told "We didn't concede and it's been a while since that happened.


"It's true that we didn't score but we're in a good position in the league, we have to keep on working to achieve decent results before the end of the campaign.

"This year, the league is much more balanced and there are a lot of teams trying to get into the European places.

"Considering our disastrous start to the season, we've improved a lot and we're on an average of two points per game.

"We have to continue to improve, starting from the match against Bologna. The young players all did well."

French striker M'Baye Niang, signed from Caen in the summer, struggled to make an impact in the first half but posed Milan's greatest threat after the break.

The 18-year-old said: "The whole team did well and we didn't concede. We have to improve and win against Bologna.

"I'm happy with my performance both in attack and defensively. The played a tight game and it was very difficult."

Samp look a different outfit under Delio Rossi, who replaced Ciro Ferrara last month, and the ex-Fiorentina boss feels his charges will soon climb away from danger.

"Survive? Of course I believe we can survive," he told "I didn't just come here to steal six months of wages.

"After last week's great performance in Turin (2-1 win over Juventus) we needed to prove ourselves against another big team.

"We matched Milan for 70 minutes and played a great game. Then we dropped off a bit, especially on the wings, and started to suffer for it.

"This is a great Sampdoria side. The lads are all behind me and we can get even better. There's a great will to fight and to improve here."

McLoughlin linked up with the Saddlers on Sunday and made his full debut for the Dons' League One rivals later that day as they beat Preston 3-1 at Deepdale.

The 21-year-old was drafted in by Walsall after Nottingham Forest recalled Karl Darlow from his loan spell at the Banks's Stadium and he will remain with Dean Smith's side until February 9.

McLoughlin made two appearances as a substitute for the Dons last season and made his full debut for the Milton Keynes club earlier this campaign when he started in the Capital One Cup against Sunderland.

The former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international had loans spells at Lowestoft Town and Stockport earlier in his career.