TRIUMPHANT AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli admitted his team had to fight for their 3-1 Europa League Group H triumph over Celtic at Parkhead.
The Serie A cracks have won their first four league games of the season – including a 2-1 success over city rivals Inter last weekend – and they continued their good form in Glasgow.
A 14th-minute goal from Rade Krunic helped to ease them towards three points and their case was helped when Brahim Diaz doubled their advantage just before the interval.
A headed goal from Mohamed Elyounoussi in the 77th minute gave the Hoops some hope, but they were undone with a stoppage-time third goal from Jens-Petter Hauge.
Pioli, speaking to Milan TV, said: “It was definitely a match that we controlled well, but in the second-half we could have played more precise football.
“It’s proof that in Europe you’ll never have it easy, you’ll have to play to the end and you’re going to have to suffer.
“We were a team with clear ideas and we showed great mental strength.
“It was a deserved win but this group is well balanced, our strength is that we always treat the next match as the most important one.
“I prefer to defend higher up the pitch, but we dug in well.
“We conceded a few too many shots, but you can’t be in control for 95 minutes.
“It’s good when you come through difficulties to win. We put in a great effort.”
A change in formation after half-time helped the Hoops take a grip for a while with the team looking more comfortable with four at the back.
In the end, though, the familiar failing of getting shots on target let them down again.