Vincenzo Montella revealed that he had to get "angry" with AC Milan after a "terrible" first-half display in their 4-1 win over Empoli on Saturday.
Gianluca Lapadula was afforded a rare start in the absence of injured striker Carlos Bacca and gave them an early lead in Tuscany, but the hosts hit back soon after through former Milan midfielder Riccardo Saponara.
Empoli were the better side for much of the opening 45 minutes and saw numerous well-worked chances go begging, with that prolificacy ultimately costing them dear after the break.
The impressive Suso scored for the third match running, while an Andrea Costa own goal and Lapadula's late second rounded off a much improved second-half showing, but Montella still opted to focus on the first 45 minutes after the match.
"The way I saw it was that we struggled more than was necessary in the first half," he told reporters.
"We were too negative and too lazy; we didn't trust ourselves and our marking was just awful.
"Empoli are good at constructing moves and we were terrible, so I got very angry at half-time.
"I liked the second half much more and we created chances from the back, proving that we are capable of doing that even with other players."
Montella also had his say on Bacca's decision to travel to Spain for Sevilla's meeting with Valencia rather than support his team-mates in Empoli.
The Colombia international is reportedly keen on a move back to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but Montella defended the striker for heading to Spain, insisting he had given the 30-year-old permission to attend the match.