The rosso neri return in style as they easily brushed aside Seria B wonders Alessandria in an enthralling 5-0 victory at home with a lineup that included both Jeremy, Menez and Mario Balotelli returning from injury.

A troublesome start to the season

Mihaljovic looked like he was in trouble at the beginning of this season, as his squad were at one point in the middle of the table. Milan struggled to find form in a season marred by injuries and inconsistency of play.

But following a long mid winter break, the San Siro giants have found renewed sense of confidence on the pitch. A win against Inter, followed by a tough draw against Napoli, has seen AC MIlan's unbeaten streak brought to 12 matches in total. An unthinkable record just a few months ago. Tonight's win against surprise Semi-Finalists Alessandria have cemented Milan's Italian Cup final place and should they win the competition, a definite spot in next season's Europa League would be ideal for a club that hasn't seen Continental action in almost four seasons. Such success has been brought about by two key factors: the coach, and the recent returns of top quality players.

A team striving for European success next season

In a game that saw both Jeremy Menez and Mario Balotelli return to action and scoring a total of three goals between the two of them, the question begs to be answered, what could this season have brought rosso neri fans if both attackers were fully fit throughout? Balotelli has been plagued by injuries due to a serious hernia he sustained before the Winter break, leaving most of the goal scoring responsibilities on the back of Columbian super star Carlos Bacca.

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Now with Niang on the disabled list after a freak car accident last weekend, Sinisa Mihaljovic must count on the troubled Italian striker to deliver the goals he was hired for. Balotelli's goal, plus an assist, this evening in Milan proved he has much to contribute to the team that has given him all their faith. A strong feeling considering that Adriano Galliani, the club's CEO, admitted that they would sign the young Italian to a three year deal should he recover the rest of this season.

Jeremy Menez has also received much skepticism from the Milan faithful, after a season dogged by injuries and lackluster performances. After 90 minutes of majestic Football, both players seem to have found their strides when their team needed it most.

Much left for a season of missteps and late triumphs

Now with a chance at automatic qualification for the Europa League, and only six points away from the highly contested third place spot, Mihaljovic can now rejoice in the return of his two top strikers.

Much criticism has been heaped onto this team for its inaffectual counter attacking style. Granted Alessandria is still a Seria B club, but the fact remains that both Menez and Balotelli provided much in their full return to action. If Milan are to face Juventus in the final, which is highly likely considering the Turin side won 3-0 at home against Internazionale in the first leg, they must treat that match like a Champions League final.

With Menez taking over the reigns from the offloaded Cerci, Mihaljovic must utilize the Frenchman's full capabilities if he is to go anywhere with this club. The Coppa Italia is the squad's main objective, as Barbara Berlusconi made perfectly clear last month in a press release. Juventus aren't an easy team to defeat, as Bayern Munich learned after giving up a two goal lead in last week's round of 16 clash against the bianco neri. But with a newed faith in themselves and the return of some key players, Juventus or possibly Inter, could find it difficult to out play a team who has some of the best defensive line in Seria A. Milan's form could be a mere coincidence or a true return to form. No one knows the absolute truth. Only Mario Balotelli and Jeremy Menez can provide the answers to those questions in the upcoming weeks.

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