Massimiliano Allegri has promised that Milan will attack Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final this week.
The two sides, who are set to face each other at San Siro on Wednesday night, met in the group stages of this season’s UEFA tournament, where they shared nine goals across two games.
In reflecting upon those encounters, the Rossonero tactician believes his side now know how to correctly approach the competition’s defending champions.
“We are relaxed. We arrive as one of the top eight sides in Europe, something that has not happened for four years,” Allegri made a point of saying in front of the assembled Press.
“We know that this quarter-final is very difficult, and so we must be ready. The previous two games were quite different, the first more defensive, the second we played with more belief and tomorrow we will need a performance like that again.”
Barcelona have won 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions, whilst they progressed to this stage of the European Cup thanks to a 10-2 aggregate win over Bayer Leverkusen. Allegri provided some insight into his game-plan to halt Pep Guardiola’s side.
“On a tactical level, today I will try some things. On a psychological level, I think that the game is of great attraction and in itself already provides great motivation.
“Lionel Messi is the tip of a team that plays beautiful football, we have to play against them carefully, minimising mistakes, but still with an offensive mentality, playing with courage.”
Allegri was asked if he would take inspiration from rivals Inter, who defeated Barcelona in the 2009-10 competition’s semi-finals en route to lifting the trophy.
“Would we play like Inter in 2010? For the characteristics of my players, we can hardly play a game as they did two years ago.
“I do not think this team is able to defend well, as the elimination from the Coppa Italia against Juventus demonstrated.
“I’m sorry for the absences that there are, but on a mental level we are fine. Sure, I would have preferred to have all the players available, but the fact remains that the team is ready for this game.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!