Montella warns AC Milan stars: Don't let first-place prize trap you

Vincenzo Montella does not want his AC Milan players to become distracted by the possibility of reaching first place by beating Genoa.

AC Milan boss Vincenzo Montella says his side's trip to face Genoa will test their credentials as Serie A challengers, but does not want them to obsess over the chance to move above Juventus.

The San Siro side have collected 16 points from their last six matches and beat champions Juve for the first time in eight Serie A meetings on Saturday thanks to Manuel Locatelli's wondergoal.

Milan are only two points adrift of Juve in top spot going into Tuesday's match and - with Massimiliano Allegri's men not playing Sampdoria until Wednesday - can move into first place with a victory. 

"There are many examples of teams that start strong and then collapse," Montella said at his pre-match media conference.

"The important thing is to maintain balance and we must not lose it.

"We have to think about a return to Europe, to our home. We must not fall into the trap of thinking about first place just for one night.

"We must not think about [whether they are Juve's biggest challengers] but concentrate on our performances. Juve are an invincible team again this year, but I like to be optimistic and not negative.

"The real watershed is Genoa v Milan. We must be ready for this match, physically and psychologically. It will be a different game tactically and mentally. If you do not prepare well you can find great difficulties.

"We are only at the beginning and the best solution is a good mix of youngsters and experienced players.

"My players are experienced even if they are young. They know they have to be 100 per cent concentrated on Genoa.

"The victory against Juve, who have been invincible in recent years, gives us a lot of self-esteem. 

"I was pleased with the defensive organisation - Gabriel Paletta and Alessio Romagnoli did great things."