Tuesday March 12 2013
El Shaarawy: 'Bring on Barcelona!'

Stephan El Shaarawy has high hopes for Milan’s trip to Barcelona this evening. “We studied them carefully and prepared for this match.”

The Rossoneri won the first leg 2-0 and travel to the Camp Nou for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

“Our Coach prepared us very well for this match,” the striker told Sky Sport Italia.

“He told us not to be hasty, to be patient and wait for the right moment. We studied Barcelona, must limit them as much as possible and then pick the time to counter-attack.

“The important thing is to play without pressure and be aware that we too can have our say. Milan have quality players and we could also impose our style on them, if we wanted to.”

Although he did not score in the first leg, life-long Milan supporter El Shaarawy enjoyed it immensely.

“It was an unforgettable night that I will carry in my heart for all of my life. It was amazing right from the moment the fans greeted us outside the San Siro garage and playing in a packed stadium gives you such a buzz.

“We needed to sacrifice ourselves and work hard against Barcelona, as we knew their characteristics. I think Prince Boateng and I did really well that night.”

El Shaarawy provided the assist for Sulley Muntari, rolling across M’Baye Niang’s low cross for the on-rushing midfielder.

“Niang did well to attack the space and see me in the middle. I spotted Sulley out of the corner of my eye and passed it to him. It was a great move and I am happy for him. I had considered shooting, but I saw the defender coming towards me and Sulley was in a better situation.

“We allowed Barcelona so few chances that it was almost the perfect performance. I asked Andres Iniesta to swap shirts after the game. I’d say that was the most important victory of my career.”

The ‘Little Pharaoh’ has many more ahead of him, seeing as he is only 20 years old and plays at Camp Nou tonight.

“Of course I dreamed of taking part in a game at one of the most important stadiums in the world. It will be emotional, but the most important thing is to qualify.

“We step on to the field with the idea of victory, of playing our game and hopefully taking the lead. It won’t be easy, but we have a good chance of going through after that 2-0.”

Milan are now third in Serie A and bearing down on Napoli in second, which is remarkable considering how poor the start to their season was.

“The team has always been united and never gave up. The Coach was close to us and we were close to him. Massimiliano Allegri was our strength. We started the campaign with so many problems and the only way out of it was to stay united. Now we must continue on this track.

“I have great respect for Allegri, as he has done so much for this team. I hope he can remain with us and with Milan.

“My objective is to stay at Milan for as long as possible, as this is the team I have always supported. The captain’s armband? I’m not thinking about that right now.”

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