Massimiliano Allegri feels Milan’s trip to Anderlecht “could be Alexandre Pato’s game” and reassures Christian Abbiati, but warns qualification won’t be decided tomorrow.
The Rossoneri are second in Group C, but only one point clear of Anderlecht and two in front of Zenit, so qualification is far from secure.
“It is going to be a very difficult game, just like all the ones we have faced recently. The Champions League is a tough competition, but we will give our all to do well,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“Overall, our performance against Napoli on Saturday was good. There were some individual errors and these things can happen. Tomorrow will be a different match, but the team is in good shape physically.”
The Rossoneri fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point in Naples, but Allegri hopes this isn’t necessarily setting a trend.
“We hope that we won’t have to fight back, as it’d be better to take the lead. Lately we have been falling behind quite a lot and at times the comebacks don’t work. Mind you, at the start of the season we couldn’t even manage comebacks.
“Pato is a player who is important on a European level. This could be his game. Kevin-Prince Boateng had a good performance in terms of intensity and technique on Saturday, which was a good sign for him and for us.
“Robinho provided a stunning pass for the equaliser that only champions know how to do. I still have to decide who starts and what support I can expect from the bench.”
The 2-2 draw with Napoli was also characterised by goalkeeper Abbiati's howler.
“There is no problem with Abbiati. He made a mistake, just like anyone can,” assured Allegri. “The side has never made overall errors, but rather individual mistakes and obviously a game can change with those. The team is in good shape, both physically and psychologically.
“I always said the Champions League group would be balanced and it will be until the end. Tomorrow by the time we play, we’ll already know Zenit’s result against Malaga, but either way I think qualification will be open to the final game.
“Of course I am not satisfied with our points tally in this group, but if we have these results then it means we deserve them. I would’ve preferred to have nine points, but now we have two games and must do well to get through to the next round.”
Milan were fired up last week by a visit from President Silvio Berlusconi, who Allegri thanked for his comments.
“The President’s advice is always important and his visit was wonderful for the whole team. I think that talking to him about football is always a pleasure.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!