Wednesday April 20 2011
Allegri grateful for Milan draw

Massimiliano Allegri feels “the important thing was not to lose” after a dramatic Coppa Italia semi-final with Palermo.

“The lads had a great start and took the lead, then didn't take more chances and conceded the equaliser. Palermo caused us problems on the counter and we risked conceding a third,” he said of the 2-2 draw at San Siro.

“The important thing was not to lose and keep the tie open ahead of the second leg, so we can focus on Serie A. When the time comes we'll prepare for the decider in Palermo.”

Allegri was without several stars, including Alessandro Nesta, Mario Yepes, Gianluca Zambrotta and Alexandre Pato, so fielded Luca Antonini, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Massimo Oddo in defence.

“It's only normal that the defence would have trouble with three players who don't tend to have much time on the field. They still did well against a Palermo side with great quality and pace.

“We're doing well in defence this season and I'd say Thiago Silva is the best defender in the world right now.”

“Antonio Cassano did some good work, as did Clarence Seedorf, but tonight the whole team was fairly inconsistent.

“It was important to avoid a defeat so we can travel to Sicily in the best condition to challenge for the Final.”

Andrea Pirlo made his first start in four months to lead the midfield.

“He had a good performance, although it was normal after four months that he'd not quite be match fit. We knew Palermo would put pressure on, but should've picked up the pace and moved the ball around quicker.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the opener, set up the second for Urby Emanuelson and had penalty appeals for a tussle with Marco Cassetti.

“It's tough for referees to whistle fouls on Ibrahimovic, as he's so big and strong, but in the eight months I've been here I think he's had two or three fouls in his favour. When he receives a free kick it feels pretty rare.

“I also think that's because he has a positive attitude and tends to keep quiet on the pitch, so doesn't like to kick up a fuss.

The Rossoneri now prepare for this weekend's Serie A trip to Brescia, a result that could move them closer to the Scudetto.

“Tonight we played five or six first team players. I should have more at my disposal on Saturday and we've got to give it our all, as we cannot afford to make a mistake.”