Marco Giampaolo had full faith Pepe Reina would save Genoa's late penalty due to the strength of the AC Milan goalkeeper's character.

Former Sampdoria boss Giampaolo secured a vital win to boost his chances of keeping his job as Milan coach on Saturday - Franck Kessie's penalty ultimately proving the winner in a dramatic 2-1 triumph.

Reina, a late replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma, made a vital contribution when he saved Lasse Schone's penalty, having earlier gifted the Genoa midfielder the opener when he bundled in a free-kick.

The win lifts some of the mounting pressure on Giampaolo, whose side had lost three on the bounce heading to Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

"I am quite cool-headed during a game, fortunately," Giampaolo told DAZN.

"I had doubts it was a penalty, but Reina has so much character that I had faith he would save it.

"It was a difficult match, we were under a lot of pressure, so I praise the lads for not letting go. I didn't even care if they misplaced a pass, the important thing was to give a response in terms of character.

"I want us to continue with this character, but obviously hope to get a sharper and higher quality style of football in the future.

"I want to see this team play better football, but it wasn't possible because they felt the pressure so much and needed the victory so badly.

"We had to scrape the last bit of determination and character. I couldn't ask them for beautiful football, as we had other objectives."

Giampaolo rolled the dice at half-time, taking off Hakan Calhanoglu and the ineffective Krzysztof Piatek, introducing Lucas Paqueta and Rafael Leao.

The duo inspired a six-minute turnaround, though Giampaolo insisted the comeback was a team effort.

"I liked Paqueta, he came on well, as did Leao, but I won't condemn those who they replaced," he added.

"I told the lads to keep their cool and turn it around. It's not wise to bleed in the presence of sharks. These forwards have different characteristics, but I know that Milan need all of those elements.

"I won't throw anyone out of the window. My objective is to keep everyone involved."