Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri is optimistic that his side will have a chance against Barcelona. “The tie will start at 0-0…”
The Spanish giants are hot favourites to dispose of the Diavolo in their last 16 clash of the Champions League.
However, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s San Siro first leg, the Coach insisted that his outfit had to believe in success.
“We won’t be the sacrificial lambs, the game will start at 0-0,” he noted. “It will be down to what happens on the pitch.
“We know that we are facing the strongest side in the world, but, in recent years, we haven’t done badly against them.
“We need to start the game with the conviction that we can qualify. We need to create the conditions to get through this round.
“We need to limit their possession of the ball so that they can’t take advantage of that in the attacking third. They could give us a few opportunities at the back.”
The pre-game talk has been dominated by President Silvio Berlusconi’s suggestion to man-mark danger man Lionel Messi.
“The advice of the President is always well received. After 25 years of Milan, he knows football and he often has genius ideas.
“I, though, work with the squad on a daily basis. I look to do what’s best.
“Messi is a dangerous player, like Iniesta. They are extraordinary players. We’ll have to mark them well so they can’t express their qualities.”
Turning to team matters, Allegri suggested that Stephan El Shaarawy would return to the starting XI after injury.
“El Shaarawy is in good shape and training. I’ll evaluate whether he’ll start tomorrow.
“In defence, the idea is to start with Cristian Zapata and Philippe Mexes in the middle, with Kevin Constant and Ignazio Abate on the flanks.
“We could play with a trident in attack, but it all depends on how Barcelona line up.
“I’m sure that our display will be up to standard. If we are fortunate then we could achieve something important. We’ll then return to thinking about Serie A and the derby.”