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Milan must trust in their youth, says Maldini

The San Siro outfit have endured a disappointing season in Serie A and, incredibly for a club of Milan's stature, sit 39 points adrift of leaders Juventus, while the gap to the UEFA Champions League places is 19.

A run of four straight victories has propelled Clarence Seedorf's men to eighth in the table and re-ignited hopes of a UEFA Europa League berth that had looked unlikely, as Milan seek to salvage something from their season.

Maldini enjoyed a 24-year playing spell at Milan, where the former defender and captain was part of several successful sides, winning seven Serie A titles as well as being a five-time champion of Europe.

The 45-year-old believes now is the right time to look to the future in order to restore past glories, though he admits that approach will require patience.

"To have a philosophy of youth requires patience," he told

"Results may not arrive immediately but we must have the courage to make a five-year plan. The secret is to combine the investment of youth with the senior players.

"The quality of the investments between Italy and the other European teams are different. We lost pace and so we are suffering."