Monday March 11 2013
Irureta recalls Milan mauling

Former Deportivo boss Javier Irureta has told Barcelona how to overturn a first-leg deficit against Milan in the Champions League.

Milan face Barcelona in Spain on Tuesday with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg of their last 16 European Cup tie.

Barca believe that they are still in with a chance of qualification and Irureta is proof that it can be done after his Deportivo side won 4-0, after a 4-1 first leg loss, in the 2003-04 last eight against the same Serie A side.

“I remember it as a special night,” the 64-year-old reflected to Marca. “We knew that, with the support of our people, we had the chance of progressing.

“We did not deserve that punishment at San Siro. We had taken home a result that was too one-sided for the balance of play.

“Milan had a great team then with Kaka, Andriy Shevchenko, Alessandro Nesta and so on. Those days there was also a unique atmosphere in our city.

“What I tried was to have all the players believing that they could overcome Milan.

“We managed to create an atmosphere of trust that was so great that, coupled with the desire of revenge for the unfair result of the first leg, it ended up being decisive.

“Fundamentally, I told them to go out and bite into them within the first few minutes.”

Irureta, however, was impressed with the Diavolo’s recent display against the Nou Camp outfit.

“In the first leg they showed that they can play very well together,” he added. “They had an impressive level of pressing and made the most of their chances.

“I’m convinced that they will defend, in the catenaccio style, and it will be really complex to get to their goal. This team is different to the one that faced us, but the Italian essence is the same.

“With a goal in the first 20-30 minutes, Milan would find it very hard to hold out for the rest of the game.

“The Camp Nou stadium is imposing and Jordi Roura’s players will have the support of the public. I think the pressure can be with them.

“Clearly, if they want to be in the quarter-finals, they will have to score early.”