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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
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

Offshore Wind Project Engineer

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Subsea Proposals Engineer

£50000 - £55000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Maintenance Agreement Manager – Subsea Cables

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Geotechnical Director of Engineering

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices