After a dismal start to the season, AC Milan are locked in a relegation dogfight, coach Max Allegri has admitted.
Allegri has clung on to his job despite a miserable run of form that has left Milan in lower mid-table and comprehensively ruled out of the Scudetto race.
The sole saving grace for the ex-Cagliari tactician has been the Diavolo's progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Milan will change tactician in the summer with Clarence Seedorf widely tipped for the hot seat, but for now Allegri has one modest goal before he leaves - securing the Rossoneri's Serie A status.
"We can't forget that we only have 19 points," Allegri told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"We need to look over our shoulders - it's a battle for survival. Against Atalanta we need to be a ruthless Milan because we know how difficult the game can be and how important the three points are."
Milan are currently one point ahead of Atalanta in 13th place and just five points away from the relegation zone.
"We have done nothing so far," Allegri insisted. "Our league position makes you cry but we have to put our mistakes behind us and start the new year in the best possible way."
The battle between Milan and Atalanta at San Siro kicks off at 2pm on Monday afternoon.
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