Stefano Pioli insisted Milan did not already have their eyes on their Champions League clash with Tottenham after a deserved defeat at Fiorentina.
Milan saw a three-game winning run in Serie A come to an abrupt end after Nicolas Gonzalez and Luka Jovic inflicted a 2-1 defeat, despite Theo Hernandez's well-taken late strike on Saturday.
That left the Rossoneri's top-four hopes in danger with fifth-placed Roma able to move level on points with victory at home to Juventus on Sunday.
Milan visit Tottenham with a slender 1-0 lead ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Wednesday, though Pioli refused suggestions that match impacted the Rossoneri at Fiorentina.
When asked by Sky Sport Italia if Milan were already thinking about Tottenham, Pioli said: "No no no, that was absolutely not the case.
"Fiorentina played better than us, but not because we were thinking of Tottenham.
"We never thought of Tottenham. We had to do things better. It was a defeat that we didn't want."
Full time.#FiorentinaMilan #SempreMilan@Acqua_Lete pic.twitter.com/rBU3hns8T6— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 4, 2023
Milan had reeled off four straight wins across all competitions without conceding, aiming for just a fifth instance in their history of winning five in a row without their defence being breached.
That never came to fruition after Fiorentina were in the ascendancy from the start at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, where Pioli acknowledged Milan were slow to get going.
"We prepared the match as if it were very important. Fiorentina did better than us in the first half in terms of quality and energy," he added.
"We did better in the second half but the first half was not played well and we were punished."
Only Cremonese, Sampdoria and Salernitana (all six) have lost more Serie A matches than Milan's four in 2023, though Pioli expects the Rossoneri to respond when they travel to Tottenham.
"It will be a different match because tonight's match doesn't count," he continued. "It will be two teams that will play at their best; Milan will certainly be ready."