Football: Milan decline to go public on Zaccheroni

MILAN AND their beleaguered coach, Alberto Zaccheroni, were still reeling yesterday from the late two-goal salvo by Galatasaray on Wednesday which knocked them out of Europe.

In the most stunning result of the final night of first-round Champions' League matches, the five-time champions of Europe - just four minutes away from the next stage of the event - had the rug pulled out from underneath them by the Turks in losing 3-2. Hakan Sukur headed home Pembe Ergun's cross after the Milan defence failed to clear, and Daval Umit then converted a penalty.

The Italian newspapers have labelled the defeat a disaster, with Zaccheroni coming under fire in all of them. The Corriere dello Sport wrote: "Zaccheroni, at this moment in time, is hanging on to his job by a thread."

Tuttosport blasted the late collapse, writing: "Milan madness, out of everything".

Milan, who surrendered their Uefa Cup place to Galatasaray in the process, now have only the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia to play for.

"This is the worst defeat of my career," said Zaccheroni. "I cannot begin to explain how it could have happened. We had the right attitude; we were brave and really chased the win. We were well prepared and had spent a lot of time studying our opposition beforehand. We played the entire game at our own speed and really dictated the pace, especially up front."

The Milan captain, Paolo Maldini, was distraught. "Coming last in our Champions' League group simply isn't good enough," he said. "That is not the kind of result you expect from a team like Milan. We let Galatasaray back into the game, because we didn't play the ball well. If we had been calmer we probably would have won, just as Chelsea did in Istanbul. Instead, it's finished like this."

The Milan vice-president, Adriano Galliani, ruled out a change of coach - but his boss, the club's president Silvio Berlusconi, was tight-lipped about the future of Zaccheroni. "I don't want to talk about last night," Berlusconi said. "My heart is in pain."

Press reports yesterday said that Galliani and Berlusconi had spoken at length after Wednesday's defeat. However, Galliani, who runs the day- to-day business of the club, said of Zaccheroni's position: "It is not up for discussion."

Galliani was shocked by his side's exit. "It is not possible to have a chance to remain in the Champions' League and then suddenly to end up bottom of the group, it's just not possible. In the second half we played really badly, we just weren't the real Milan," he commented.

Galliani said Milan now had to concentrate on qualifying for next season's Champions' League. "We have got to get back into Europe as soon as possible by finishing in the top four in the league. We can do it because we have a team which won the league just three or four months ago," he said.

Galliani also paid tribute to Chelsea for their 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin which left them top of Group H. "Chelsea played an extraordinary game and were a real tribute to the sport," he said.

Arrigo Sacchi, the former Milan and Italy coach, now a television pundit, said: "Everyone says the favourites for the Champions' League title are Barcelona, Manchester United and Lazio, but I would include Chelsea in that list."

On Wednesday Zaccheroni said: "Having a place in the Champions' League in your hands one minute and then nothing at all the next minute is very difficult to accept. I saw some of the players in the dressing-room and they really had their heads down." He said he had not yet considered making major changes to his squad.

"I haven't thought about that possibility simply because I was hoping to go forward in the Champions' League," he said. "I don't like to look for excuses straight after a game but probably our biggest mistake was that we didn't have enough possession of the ball."

Zaccheroni suggested that the pressure of the occasion may have caught up with his side in those final decisive moments. "Possibly in those final minutes we paid for the amount of nervous energy we expanded," he said. "We have to get better, we have to do what we did last season and improve the quality of our play noticeably."

Jubilant Turks took the streets sounding klaxons and waving Galatasaray red and yellow flags from car windows. "We deserved the Champions' League, but we ought to be grateful for having put a giant like Milan under our belts and moving on to the Uefa Cup," said the club's coach, Fatih Terim.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Science Teacher Greater Manchester

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits