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Pirlo: Montella and Bonucci need time to restore glory at Milan

Andrea Pirlo leapt to the defence of under-fire AC Milan head coach Vincenzo Montella and star recruit Leonardo Bonucci, insisting the pair need time to rejuvenate the Rossoneri.

Montella is under pressure at San Siro having already tasted three defeats in seven Serie A matches before the international break, while €42million signing Bonucci has been criticised for some of his performances.

It was an off-season filled with change and promise after Milan's new owners overhauled the squad by signing the likes of Italy international defender Bonucci, Lucas Biglia, Andre Silva, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Franck Kessie, Nikola Kalinic and Fabio Borini.

But former Milan midfielder Pirlo – who will retire at the end of the MLS season with New York City – has pleaded for patience.

"Montella to be sacked? I hope not," the 38-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He has a new team. It takes time and confidence even if the results do not come right away.

"It's normal that Bonucci does not make Milan like Juventus for now. They cannot expect that so soon.

"He is the best defender in Italy and one of the strongest in Europe."

Milan – after back-to-back defeats in the league – face a blockbuster showdown against city rivals Inter on Sunday.