Jeremy Menez thanks AC Milan after a two-goal haul on Tuesday
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 02/03/16 1:35pm
Jeremy Menez has thanked AC Milan after a memorable return to action following a frustrating 11-month absence in which he was forced to undergo an operation to correct a back problem.
Menez, 28, looked on course to make his comeback for the Rossoneri before the New Year but suffered a setback in his recovery as a result of an infection following the surgery.
But on Tuesday night, the France international striker marked his first start for the Rossoneri since April 2015 with a brace of goals in a 5-0 rout of third division Alessandria on Tuesday that allowed Milan to end a 13-year wait to reach the Italian Cup final.
Sinisa Mihajlovic's men will now meet the winner of the semi-final between Inter Milan and holders Juventus, with the latter taking a 3-0 first leg lead to the San Siro.
The final will be held at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on May 21, and for Milan it has special significance as the winner will secure entry to the group stages of next season's Europa League.
Meanwhile Menez, who joined the struggling Serie A giants from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer 2014, was delighted with his two-goal haul.
"I waited a long time for a night like that, it's been a really difficult period for me," he said. "I'm delighted to score twice, but the most important thing is we reached the final.
"When you're out for so long, you start thinking a lot of negative thoughts, but I have to thank everyone, from the coach to the club and my teammates for all their support.
"Now I want to look ahead and, even though I'm not at 100 per cent yet, try to give it everything I have."
Milan face a tough trip away to Sassuolo on Sunday and Mihajlovic said: "Let's see how things develop over the coming matches as to whether we can fight for third place.
"We've turned things around, we've reached the final, but in the league we're still sixth and we need to keep making up ground in the table."
Watch the Coppa Italia semi-final between Inter and Juventus on Wednesday from 7.40pm on Sky Sports 2