Olivier Giroud was relieved to get back among the goals as Milan fought back to beat Hellas Verona 3-2 at San Siro on Saturday.
The Rossoneri looked to be heading for a first defeat in 30 home Serie A meetings with Verona when Gianluca Caprari and Antonin Barak put them 2-0 up before half-time.
Giroud headed in just before the hour mark to spark Milan’s revival, with Franck Kessie levelling the scores from the penalty spot before a late decisive own goal from Koray Gunter.
The result put Stefano Pioli’s men top of the table ahead of Napoli’s clash with Torino on Sunday.
In scoring his third goal in his first two Serie A home games, Giroud matched a feat only previous reached by Oliver Bierhoff, Alexandre Pato, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Bacca since 1994-95.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea striker, who had missed four of Milan’s previous five games, admitted it had been a long time coming to be back on the scoresheet.
“I’ve waited a long time for this moment. I missed the competition,” Giroud, who last scored in the win over Cagliari in August, told DAZN.
“In the first half, we didn’t do well but the reaction was important. I don’t feel 100 per cent yet but I am growing and I feel more free.
“This victory is a joy. I can’t wait to go and celebrate with my team-mates. In the first half, there was a lack of nastiness and quality. We could only do better in the second half, and that’s what we did.”
22 – Milan have gained 22 points in the first eight seasonal games: a record at this point of the season for the Rossoneri since 1994/95 (three points era). Devil.#MilanVerona pic.twitter.com/QaPYlz3yPV
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 16, 2021
Pioli was left delighted with the endeavour shown by his side in the second half as they now prepare for a key Champions League group game with Porto on Tuesday.
“My team believe in what they do and put their soul into everything,” he told DAZN.
“We tried to play from the back but they were very aggressive in the first half. They took away our space and often left us with just the long ball. We were not very dynamic and we suffered.
“The best thing about this group is to see everyone involved. The credit doesn’t go to me, but it’s the air we breathe. The boys put individuality aside to put themselves at the service of the team.
“We should enjoy this game but prepare for Porto. We’ve recovered some players and we’ve lost some. The more rotations there are, the better we can do.”