AC Milan are focused insists coach Massimiliano Allegri

 

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has told his team not to think the job is done when they take on Arsenal in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie tonight.

The Rossoneri all but secured their place in the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 4-0 first-leg win over the Gunners a fortnight ago at the San Siro thanks to a brilliant opener from former Tottenham midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, a brace by ex-Manchester City striker Robinho and a late penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Only three clubs have recovered from such a first-leg deficit in the history of European competitions - all back in the mid-1980s.

Milan, though, somehow managed to go out to Deportivo La Coruna in the 2003-04 quarter-finals, when Carlo Ancelotti was manager, having won 4-1 at home, losing the second leg in Spain 4-0.

Allegri knows his side cannot afford any thoughts of complacency.

"We know how English teams play, so it's going to be important to have the right approach to the game, with great attention and a great pace because I'm sure they'll try to raise the pace tomorrow and try to find an early goal," he said.

"I would insult the team if I would say I had seen some drop in focus in the past.

"When you play the Champions League last 16 against Arsenal in London, regardless of what happened in the first leg, I would never expect my team would feel more relaxed. In football, anything can happen.

"I think [tonight] we need to step on the pitch fired up for 90 minutes without thinking what we did in the first leg."

On the past failings of Milan to hold onto leads - including a famous second-half capitulation when leading 3-0 against Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final, Allegri said: "Those negative happenings must help us to take the right approach.

"We must be conscious that we are going to face a team with great qualities and a team which will try to change the course of the tie right from the beginning.

"I also know the English teams will never surrender."

Allegri does not expect Arsenal to produce another below-par display as they did in Italy.

"We will find a different team compared to the home leg, also because they will try anything, they've got nothing to lose and they will try to reopen the hatch at the beginning," he said.

"After the defeat against us, they played some excellent games. You can look at what they did against Tottenham, you can look at what they did against Liverpool on Saturday."

Ibrahimovic led the Milan attack with great presence in the first leg, and marked his return from a domestic ban to smash a hat-trick in the Rossoneri's 4-0 win at Palermo on Saturday which consolidated their place at the top of Serie A.

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PA

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