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Massimiliano Allegri denies Zlatan Ibrahimovic row and focuses on Lecce clash

March 11, 2012 By Gregory Sica
The Milan boss downplayed an apparent rift with Ibrahimovic ahead of their latest Serie A fixture.
Massimiliano Allegri, the coach of AC Milan, denied that there is a rift between him and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Sweden international criticised his tactics during the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Allegri, who played Ibrahimovic out of his regular position during the clash, downplayed the issue to the local press ahead of Milan's crucial Serie A fixture with Lecce on Sunday.

"I don't have and never had a problem with Ibra. Over the course of a year you can have some differences regarding ideas or some discussions, that can also act as a motivating force during an important moment of the season," Allegri stated.

"Ibra said nothing bad, it's only normal that he has the same desire to win as I do, that we all do in the Milan dressing room. The objective is to win. You can do it well with all love and hugs, or through the odd argument, it doesn't really matter. We all work together for the final objective."

Allegri went on to turn his attention to Sunday's important league clash with relegation-threatened Lecce which will be held at the San Siro stadium.

"I'm happy because after a long catch-up the guys are back on top. Now the difficult part arrives as we have to remain there with calm and balance, taking it one game at a time.

"It's in our hands now. We've got three competitions to deal with so it is even more important to be fresh psychologically than physically," concluded the coach.

Coming into the game, the reigning Italian champions find themselves two points clear of Juventus at the Serie A summit, and with only twelve games left to play will need to obtain maximum points to move closer towards back-to-back titles.

Ibrahimovic, the league's leading scorer with 18 goals, is expected to partner Brazilian ace Robinho in Milan's menacing attack.

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