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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering