Allegri defends ‘aggressive’ van Bommel

AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri excused Serie A debutant Mark van Bommel for getting himself sent off in their win over Catania.

The league leaders extended their gap at the top of the table with a 2-0 away win, with both goals coming after van Bommel received his second yellow card early in the second half.

But Allegri put the poor discipline from the Dutchman down to a lack of league experience in Italy.

“It’s fair enough. The referees make decisions based on what they see and this is an example. Van Bommel should’ve been a bit sneakier, but it is his second game in Italian football,” Allegri said.

“These fouls are not generally sanctioned with a booking in Germany, but he is a generally aggressive player.”

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a hand in the first goal, before scoring the second himself, on both occasions linking with Brazilian star Robinho.

Allegri had nothing but praise for the 29-year-old Ibrahimovic.

“He is having the best season of his career in terms of intensity,” Allegri said.

“Ibra has a great deal of enthusiasm, feels like a leader and also knows how to defend, which is the most important thing. If he tracks back, then everyone else follows suit.”

Ibrahimovic said he believed Catania goaded van Bommel into a reckless foul to earn his second yellow card, but said it was karma that Milan managed to use the sending off to their advantage.

“It seemed as if the Catania players were looking for that second yellow card. They found it, but we won with character,” Ibrahimovic said.

“It’s a good sign for the season, as it shows we are doing everything possible to win. It was a tough game against an aggressive and gritty side.”

“In my view it was actually easier to play with 10 men, as that created more space for the forwards.”