Galliani voices Italian fears
Friday 13 March 2009
AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani believes economic factors were to blame for Italy's poor showing in this season's Champions League.
The Rossoneri have already bowed out of the Uefa Cup, but English teams beat Internazionale, AS Roma and Juventus in the last 16 of Europe's premier competition this week.
Galliani has a theory for the Serie A teams' demise, telling Radio KissKiss: "The economic crisis is the reason why the Italian teams are all out of the competition.
"Thanks to the fact that English clubs own their own stadiums which are nearly always full, they make a lot more money than us.
"Ten years ago we were making much more than Spanish or English teams and we were dominant in Europe.
"If we don't buck the current trend we will lose our ranking as the third biggest European league, and that would be a disaster.
"I'd like to remind everyone, that the last time the Red Devils were defeated in the Champions League, was in the semi-final in 2007 at the hands of Milan.
"Since then, they have gone 21 games without being beaten, and the last time they lost at home was to Milan too, in 2005."
Internazionale coach Jose Mourinho is determined to put thoughts of his side's Champions League exit to the back of his mind and concentrate on securing this season's Serie A title.
Inter were beaten by Manchester United in the last 16 of the competition, but remain seven points clear of second-placed side Juventus as they chase another Scudetto.
The former FC Porto and Chelsea boss remains upbeat, telling RTP: "The result of this game seems unfair. Inter made a great game, played according to their capacities.
"Analysing things from a much more global point of view, United are better than us and, since they are better, they are through.
"These eight months? It has been a great experience, obviously with big difficulties and, if I win the Serie A like I hope, it will be the biggest accomplishment of my career."
Meanwhile, Udinese coach Pasquale Marino was delighted by his side's late show in their 2-0 first-leg win in their Uefa Cup second knockout round tie with Zenit St Petersburg.
Goals in the final five minutes of the game at the Friuli by Fabio Quagliarella and Antonio Di Natale gave Udine a cushion to take to Russia for the second leg and gave Marino reason to be happy.
He told Sky Italia: "I am pleased with the performance and I feel it is one that we certainly deserved.
"We created plenty of opportunities and played with real character throughout.
"I was fairly content with the scoreline at 0-0, but I am happy that we continued to press to try and make something of the game."
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