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Allegri revels in ´deserved´ victory

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was thrilled with his side’s 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16.

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was thrilled with his side’s 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16.

Despite the visitors heavily dominating possession at San Siro, Serie A side Milan held firm at the back before second-half goals from Stephan El Shaarawy and Sulley Muntari sealed a memorable triumph in the first leg on Wednesday.

Allegri was quick to pass on all the praise to his players, telling reporters: “We won an important game against Barcelona, which I believed in and nobody else did.

“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 lads played well in defensive terms and didn’t let them near our penalty area. We knew Barcelona kept possession for about 65 percent of the time, but we had five or six very favourable situations where we got the final pass wrong.

“They didn’t lose heart, even when Barcelona kept possession like that. Perhaps we were lucky with the ricochet on the first goal, but these things happen during a game. My players all deserved this evening, as did the club and the president (Silvio Berlusconi).”

Despite Milan appearing to have one foot in the quarter final, Allegri is refusing to rest on his laurels, and is already looking to prepare his side for a positive result in the second leg in Spain.

“At the moment this result is not enough to qualify us, so we hope to get a positive result at the Camp Nou too,” he said.

“We’re not facing a different Barcelona in Spain, as this is their approach and they always play the same way. We used the ball well, though every now and then we make life difficult for ourselves and that is something we must improve on.

“We can put this result aside now, knowing the second leg will be very difficult and we must try to get another goal with a little more sharpness.”

Barcelona coach Jordi Roura was frustrated by the defeat, claiming Milan scored from virtually their only two chances on goal in the contest.

“The result was a bit excessive, they only really had two chances. They defended well. It will be difficult but we’re fully confident in our team and our fans,” Roura said.

“(The result) is what it is. Now we should let some hours go by, recover from this, and then move on.”

Barca must bounce back in the second leg at the Camp Nou on March 12.

Wed 20 February, 2013
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