Battle Of San Siro: Milan Ready For Messi's Magic


Coach Massimiliano Allegri wants AC Milan to show “courage” in their quarter-final against FC Barcelona, believing that the squad are ready to foil the Lionel Messi-inspired team.

Allegri says AC Milan would “adopt an attacking approach and show courage” to assert their authority by holding world’s best footballer, Messi and other stars in Barcelona. Allegri is keen that his team learn from their mistakes against the reigning champions in this season’s group stage, when the holders followed up a 2-2 home draw with a 3-2 win at San Siro to capture first place in Group H.

Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Allegri said: “We are ready for this challenge. It’ll be a very difficult quarter-final against the best team in the UEFA Champions League; we have to play a great game.

The two previous matches against Barcelona were very different. The first one [2-2 at the Camp Nou] was more defensive; the last one [3-2 to Barcelona at San Siro] was more open, with a lot of chances for both teams. Playing like we did in that second game, we took more risks and made some mistakes in defence that you cannot afford against a team like Barcelona. We just have to avoid that.

“It’s a very interesting match and we don’t need extra motivation. Our team are ready to face up to a similar contest. Oh yes, Lionel Messi is the focus of this team that play great football. We have to pay a special attention to him and perform well in defence, but adopt an attacking approach and play with courage. If we want to get through we have to score.

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“There is no such thing as a perfect result. This game is the most important; we cannot go wrong as then qualification could be achieved in the second leg.”

Josep Guardiola said that experience was “fun” – this, he adds, will be a tenser affair.

Barca coach said: “Milan will be going for the win but we’ll fight for a positive result. If you play against Milan and you’re not focused, you can’t win. It will be very important to score; that is one of our main aims. Milan are a great club with a rich tradition. It’s a big privilege to play here: we have to be courageous, defend but also know when to attack.

“We are committed to playing our own unique style, but know there will be phases of the game when we suffer. We are two strong teams but only one can get through – the side with greater mental fortitude. The group game here was especially fun for the fans. AC Milan played to win and finish top of the group.”

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