20th February, 2013
AC Milan coach, Massimiliano Allegri, has warned his team to watch out for the duo of Lionel Messi and Andre Iniesta when they battle FC Barcelona in the Round of 16 match of the UEFA Champions League tonight.
Irked by talk that FC Barcelona will make light work of his AC Milan team; Massimiliano Allegri came out on the front foot ahead of the sold-out UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg at San Siro, saying: “It annoys me that we are already considered as a sacrificial victim.
“Over the past two years, we have played a few good games against Barcelona. They are the best team in the world and we must try to lay the groundwork for our progress in the tie. We have to limit their time on the ball because in attack they have great players. However, they could concede ground at the back so we need to play with the belief we can go through.
“Lionel Messi is a player who can make a difference, likewise Andrés Iniesta, one of the best creators in the world. Obviously we must look at ways of limiting their effectiveness. We must be calm.”
His opposite number Jordi Roura also downplayed suggestions that the Blaugrana, who eliminated Milan in last season’s quarter-finals, are overwhelming favourites.
He said: “This season Milan are different from previous years. To come and play here is a pleasure, in a great stadium and in a fantastic atmosphere. Milan continue to be one of the most prestigious teams in Europe and obviously there is worry about this.”
“It makes no sense to talk about favourites. I don’t agree with those who say that Barcelona will definitely win. Milan are one of the most successful teams in Europe and San Siro is always a difficult stadium to play in. The atmosphere of the Champions League is fantastic and we are looking forward to this match.”