Milan wall keeps Barca attacks at bay – Allegri lauds his defense
AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri revealed he had faith in his side’s ability to defeat Barcelona. The Rossoneri boss hailed his players after they produced a stunning performance to defeat Barcelona 2-0 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in San Siro.
Goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari helped AC Milan win the first leg of the round of 16 clash between the European football powerhouses. Massimiliano Allegri couldn’t hide his smile as he talked to reporters after the game.
The San Siro boss warned his side not to get a head of themselves as their job was only half done. AC Milan will travel to Spain to play against Barcelona at Camp Nou for the second leg of their Round of 16 battle.
“The lads played well in defensive terms and didn't let them near our penalty area,” Massimiliano Allegri told Mediaset. “We know Barcelona kept possession for about 65% of the time, but we had five or six very favorable situations where we got the final pass wrong.”
In spite of keeping the lion’s share of ball possession, Barcelona were able to come up with very few goal-scoring chances. As a matter of fact, AC Milan’s defense proved to be an impregnable wall against the La Liga leaders.
Meanwhile, AC Milan’s attack took advantage of every single gap they found in Barcelona’s defense and piled pressure in the midfield whenever they were given the opportunity to do so. AC Milan’s biggest achievement was keeping Lionel Messi out of the game, and they did so without man-marking him.
“My players deserved this evening, as did the club and the president,” Massimiliano Allegri continued. “We can put this result aside now, knowing the second leg will be very difficult. The players did well in intercepting passes and staying tight. We limited Leo Messi, and above all did very well to stop the balls that they tend to put behind the midfielders.”
AC Milan’s defense was disciplined like an army and running like a well-oiled machine. Massimiliano Allegri lauded his side’s defensive efforts and hoped they would keep Barcelona’s famed attackers at bay at Camp Nou as well.
“At the moment, this result is not enough to qualify us, so we hope to get a positive result at the Camp Nou, too,” Massimiliano Allegri added. “In order to win these games, you need everyone to sacrifice themselves and work hard. We kept Barcelona out of our penalty area and they didn't have a single real shot on goal.
“The players deserved this victory, without question. Perhaps we were lucky with the ricochet on the first goal - but these things happen during a game.”
AC Milan will meet Barcelona at Camp Nou on March 6. The match will decide which team progresses to the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League.