Soccer: Milan impose 'ritiro' on under-performing players

Seven-time European champs joint third-from-bottom

Soccer: Milan impose 'ritiro' on under-performing players

Milan, October 22 - AC Milan's players will start a week-long 'ritiro' training camp on Monday after their poor form continued with a 3-2 defeat at Lazio on Saturday. Italian clubs sometimes use 'ritiri' as a form of punishment for poor form. It is an unpopular practice with players, who are not allowed to go home to their families after training. Milan have called their first one in a number of years after dropping to joint third-bottom in the Serie A table. The seven-time European champions have just seven points from eight games. The last time they had such a bad start to the season was in the 1981-82 season, when they ended up being relegated to Serie B. At the weekend the club reiterated its support for coach Massimiliano Allegri, who has survived after losing several matches billed by the media as his last chance to save his job. But pundits say he is unlikely to stay on the bench if Milan lose their Champions League clash in Malaga on Wednesday and fail to beat Genoa in Serie A on Saturday. Milan trail leaders Juventus by 15 points after the reigning champions beat Napoli 2-0 on Saturday. Milan fans' misery is compounded by city rivals Inter recovering from their difficult start to the season. Inter are joint-third after beating Catania 2-0 to notch their fourth consecutive win. A goal by in-form striker Antonio Cassano, who left Milan in the close season, set Inter on their way to victory over the Sicilian side.

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