Dozens of AC Milan fans launched a protest outside the club’s shared San Siro ground on Sunday after a brief meeting with under-fire coach Clarence Seedorf following a 4-2 defeat to Parma.
Ten-man Milan suffered their third consecutive reverse to drop to 12th in the table and see their hopes of European football next season all but vanish.
Milan, the seven-time European champions, now sit 37 points behind leaders Juventus and 11 points off fifth-placed Parma who occupy the first Europa League qualifying spot, with a game in hand.
The defeat was all the more galling as former Inter and Milan striker Antonio Cassano hit a brace, the first from the penalty spot following the sending-off of goalkeeper Christian Abbiati in the opening minutes.
The Rossoneri frustration spilled over at the end of the match with dozens of fans protesting while waiting for players to leave the ground.
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 previous coach Massimiliano Allegri, who was sacked in January, 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.