Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Soccer: Milan wary of post-Barca repercussions


(By Paul Virgo)
Milan, March 13 - AC Milan are focusing on trying
to stop Tuesday's 4-0 defeat at Barcelona having repercussions
for the domestic campaign after it ended their drive for glory
in the Champions League.
Milan travelled to Barcelona with high hopes of reaching
the quarter-finals after winning the first leg 2-0, but they
were smashed by a superlative display by the Catalan side and
their Argentine forward Leo Messi, who scored two fine goals.
They are particularly wary as, after being dumped out of
the Champions League by Barca in the last eight last season,
Massimiliano Allegri's side lost 2-1 at home to Fiorentina.
The defeat basically cost Milan the title as it enabled
Juventus to overtake them at the top of the table and the Turin
side never surrendered the lead.
Milan have little hope of winning this season's Serie A
crown, as they trail leaders Juve by 11 points, but they need to
keep hold of third place in the standings to qualify for next
season's Champions League.
"Now we have to think about the league match against
(bottom side) Palermo," Milan Chief Executive Adriano Galliani
said Wednesday.
"On Sunday we absolutely must not repeat last year's
performance against Fiorentina, which came after the return
match against Barcelona (in the Champions League)".
Allegri's side made a poor start in Serie A after selling
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazil defender Thiago
Silva and bidding farewell to veterans such as Gennaro Gattuso,
Alessandro Nesta and Clarence Seedorf in the summer.
The new, younger Milan have improved as the season
progressed and they have not lost a league match since before
Serie A's winter break.
They can take heart from having created some good chances
against the world's best team on Tuesday, including an effort by
French teen M'Baye Niang that hit the post and a second-half
shot by Robinho that was blocked.
So Allegri is hopeful his side will learn from the defeat
and be able to bounce back quickly.
"The players should be satisfied with what they did," the
coach said.
"They are the best side in the world and we are a young
team that have to grow.
"It wasn't a disaster. With a bit of luck we'd be here
talking about a completely different result.
"Now we are thinking about Palermo. The team is in good
shape and we'll be ready for Sunday.
"Our aim is to play in the Champions League next season. We
have to defend our current position in the best of ways and I'm
sure we'll get going again straight away against Palermo.
"Aside from the result (against Barca), I'm sure that this
match we help the team to develop. In life and in soccer, you
gain experience from your defeats".

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