AC Milan owner and president Silvio Berlusconi has given under-fire coach Clarence Seedorf his backing amid speculation the Dutchman could be on his way out of the club.
Milan suffered their third consecutive league defeat on Sunday in a 4-2 reverse at home to Parma, having been reduced to 10 men inside 10 minutes when goalkeeper Christian Abbiati was sent off,
The result dropped Milan to 12th, a massive 40 points behind leaders Juventus and 12 behind city rivals Inter, who sit fifth and in the first available Europa League spot.
Media speculation on Monday suggested Milan had already lost patience with Seedorf, who took up his first senior coaching position in January when he inherited an ailing side from former handler Massimiliano Allegri in January.
However Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, insisted: “Seedorf is not up for discussion, he will remain our coach even next year.”
Milan’s latest league defeat, their fourth in nine games under Seedorf, prompted dozens of hard-line supporters to stage a protest outside the club’s shared San Siro ground on Sunday after a brief meeting was held with Seedorf and several key players, including Kaka and Mario Balotelli.
Seedorf, speaking to Sky Italia, played down the incident.
“It’s a very delicate situation but it was a peaceful meeting and the fans who are close to the club have every right to express their feelings, before, during and after the match,” Seedorf said.
Seedorf, who earlier this week complained he had inherited an “ailing” team from Allegri saw his side crash out of the Champions League after a 5-1 aggregate reverse to Atletico Madrid last week.
Finishing among the top five and securing a Europa League place now looks a hard task, but the 37-year-old Dutchman said he is fully committed to the club where he spent 10 success-laden years from 2002-2012.
“I will defend this club to the hilt, as well as my players,” added Seedorf.
“We have to look ahead in a positive way, continue to work hard and, with a little more attention to the details, try to get ourselves out of this negative spiral.”