Zlatan calls for Coppa focus from Milan

Zlatan calls for Coppa focus from Milan

Published Jan. 17, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has urged his team-mates to put Sunday's derby defeat behind them and focus on Wednesday night's Coppa Italia last-16 match against Novara.

The Rossoneri lost 1-0 to Inter at the weekend to as their 12-match unbeaten run in Serie A came to an end.

The result left Milan second in the standings, one point behind leaders Juventus.

"We played badly," Ibrahimovic said. "We weren't sharp. To lose a derby is never pleasant but we cannot make a drama out of it


"We cannot forget that we are five points clear of Inter in the standings.

"We will bounce back immediately, starting on Wednesday against Novara."

Wednesday's encounter at the San Siro will be the first of two meetings between the two sides this week as Novara host Milan on Sunday in the league.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri expects an improved performance from his players in front of goal against Novara.

"Against Inter, we should have been more fluid in attack," he said. "We didn't take advantage of the chances we had and that is why we lost.

"We must do better in that respect."

Novara also head into the game at the San Siro on the back of a defeat.

The promoted outfit went down 3-1 at Cesena to drop to the foot of the standings.

Attilio Tesser's side have not won a game since late November, but club chairman Massimo De Salvo has warned Milan not to take his team lightly.

"We have nothing to lose against Milan," he said. "Of course, they are firm favourites.

"But my players will not go on the pitch with fear.

"I want to see my team go out with their heads held high and play with pride. My players will fight until the last second."

The winner will face Lazio in the quarter-finals.