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Seedorf’s winning Milan start provides Champions League lift

| 22.01.2014

A 1-0 home win over Hellas Verona may not have convinced the naysayers but there are reasons to be optimistic about AC Milan under Clarence Seedorf.

The Dutchman’s first game in charge was decided eight minutes from time, courtesy of a Mario Balotelli penalty, but the scoreline failed to reflect the Rossoneri’s dominance.

All told, the Diavolo managed seven shots on target and a further ten just wide of the mark – a tally which was more than double that managed by the visitors.

For Seedorf and his new charges, the result went some way to ending the recent rot at the club, with Milan managing two wins from their last 11 league games prior to that victory.

Going into the game, Verona were fresh from upsetting the odds away to Udinese with a 3-1 triumph at the Stadio Friuli that would have set alarm bells ringing for Milan fans.

But in the end it was plain sailing for the Rossoneri, who enjoyed 63 per cent of the possession, restricting the opposition’s chances to a series of corners that yielded little for the visiting side.

They still face a stern test of their European Cup credentials, with a tie against Atletico Madrid kicking off with the first leg at the San Siro – a game the Rossoneri are 2/1 to win.

But in Seedorf they have a manager keen to approach the job with his own ethos – one that focuses on togetherness.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia about his post-match celebrations, the Dutchman said: “We formed a circle all together in the locker room and I said we’d do the same after every game, whether it’s a win or a defeat, so we can all look each other in the eye. We’re all responsible for every result.”

While a draw with Atleti, priced at 11/5, would not be a disaster, there is room for optimism following the win and Madrid’s surprise 1-1 home draw with Sevilla.

As a former Inter player, Diego Simeone would relish the chance to claim a win at the San Siro with the Rojiblancos, quoted at at 7/5, but after dropping points to a team that they had beaten in four of their last five meetings, there will be concerns.

Atletico have now won just one of their last four games and with Seedorf at the helm, a Milan win suddenly looks tempting.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.