Saturday October 19 2013
Allegri: 'Why I chose Gabriel'

Max Allegri praised his Milan midfielders for protecting the defence and explains why Gabriel faced Udinese.

“It is normal that with so many players out of action, and we lost the goalkeeper this morning, there were question marks,” he told Sky Sport Italia after a 1-0 victory.

“We played well in the first half and wasted a few too many counter-attacks, but then we created more chances after the break and it was a deserved victory.

“Even if he missed a lot of chances, M’Baye Niang got himself into the right positions, while it was important to have Kaka come in at a time when we were struggling physically and psychologically.

“We were concentrated in defence, having conceded 13 goals in the previous seven rounds. We did well to remain solid and tight. When our team is so compact, it becomes difficult for opponents to break through.

“The midfielders worked well, as did Robinho and Valter Birsa, while Riccardo Montolivo won back possession several times with smart interceptions.

“Nigel De Jong has also learned how to play in front of the defence, whereas Montolivo played there in extraordinary fashion last season when Massimo Ambrosini was injured.

“Alessandro Matri? It’s never easy to play as a centre-forward, but he fought hard, had a few opportunities and will find the goal soon. The important thing is that he doesn’t let his head drop, as he has always scored goals and will do again.”

After Christian Abbiati picked up a calf injury, Allegri gave 21-year-old Gabriel his Serie A debut in goal.

“Tonight I chose Gabriel because I have a lot of faith in him. I evaluated he is not in the Champions League squad, as when we drew it up he had a shoulder injury, so Marco Amelia will have to play on Tuesday against Barcelona.

“Seeing as we get one injury after another, I tried not to risk Amelia! Gabriel has great qualities and is a prospect for the future.”

Barcelona drew 0-0 with Osasuna in La Liga this evening and face Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.

“The important thing was to win tonight. We’ll need a perfect performance on Tuesday to get a result.”

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