Friday December 16 2011
Allegri: English sides not in crisis

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri insists English football is still to be respected after they were drawn to play Arsenal in the Champions League.

The Premiership have only two teams in the last 16 after Manchester United and Manchester City failed to get out of the groups.

“I don’t think English football is in crisis,” the former Cagliari tactician told Sky Sport Italia on Friday afternoon.

“Manchester City, who don’t have European experience, were in a tough group along with Bayern Munich and Napoli. Manchester United’s exit was a surprise though.”

As well as the Rossoneri facing Arsenal, Napoli will take on Chelsea and Inter have been paired with France’s Marseille.

“Inter have got the easiest game out of the Italian sides, while it will be difficult for us and Napoli too,” he added. “Chelsea are very strong on the European stage.

“We know Arsenal, they are a team who play good football and who are doing well again. We need to get to February in the best physical shape and, hopefully, without any injuries.”

Asked whether winning the European Cup was a bigger target than retaining their Italian title, Allegri answered cautiously.

“Our objective right now is to collect as many points as possible in our next two League games. We had a slow start to the season, so we’ve had to catch up. Our next matches are very important.

“Only in February will we concentrate on the Champions League. If we repeat the same mistakes we made in Prague and Minsk during qualifying then it will be hard to get through.”

Milan, who went out of the competition to Tottenham last season, will host Arsenal on 15 February and the return will take place on March 6.

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