Niang gets timely Montella backing

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella is confident M'Baye Niang will overcome his recent difficulties and has backed the Frenchman become a stronger player as a result.

Niang has been struggling to find his best form this term and missed a crucial penalty in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Roma on Monday, much to the dismay of the club's fans.

However, Montella has little doubt the attacker will soon be delivering the goods again for Milan. 

"It is not an easy period for him, but I am sure he will come out of it stronger," Montella said ahead of Saturday's match visit of Atalanta.

"He had a flu, which debilitated him. He has spent lots of energy to recuperate.

"I see he is training hard, he is dedicated and he is eager to improve."

Atalanta sit sixth in Serie A, four points behind third-place Milan, and Montella warned his men against underestimating their opponents. 

"It is going to be a tough and exciting match," he added.

"Atalanta play on the counterattack, at great pace, they know what they have to do.

"We will need a bit of luck to break the deadlock as soon as possible."

Milan youngster Manuel Locatelli is one yellow card away from a one-match ban, but Montella is adamant that will not have any effect on his decision to play the midfielder, who is recovering from a minor knock.

"Manuel being one card short of a suspension? When I decide the line-up these things don't matter," he continued.

"Thursday he underwent a personalised training session. We will see how he is Saturday and I will decide whether to field him or not."

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