Goal-shy Milan look to Europe to shrug off poor form

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The Independent Football

Milan and Zurich both enter tonight's Champions League tie at the San Siro in poor form.

Milan have managed only two wins and three goals in their first six rounds of Serie A action under new coach Leonardo, while Zurich have suffered two straight losses in the Swiss league and have fallen 13 points adrift of leaders Young Boys after only 11 matches.

The difference lies in how each club began their European campaign. Filippo Inzaghi scored twice in Milan's 2-1 win over Marseilles, while Zurich were beaten 5-2 at home by Real Madrid.

Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has noticed that his team seem to perform better in Europe than domestically, and he pumped the Champions League music into the club's changing room before a 1-0 win over Bologna earlier this month.

"For some reason, whenever we hear that music we play better," Galliani said.

However, Milan's home form will be a worry for Galliani. The Rossoneri have scored only one goal in three home games this season after finding the target in every fixture at the San Siro last term, in all competitions. They were whistled off the field after a 0-0 draw with newly promoted Bari on Sunday.

"The fans' whistles are deserved. We're having a hard time imposing our game and they want to see a better show," Leonardo said. "We've got to control the ball better and be more aggressive."

Kaka's departure to Real Madrid is starting to weigh heavily on Milan, with Ronaldinho out of form and unable to take over the playmaker position consistently. Clarence Seedorf has performed better directing strikers Alexandre Pato and Inzaghi.

"Any game could be the one that becomes the turning point," Galliani said. "Let's let [Leonardo] do his job."

Milan beat Zurich twice, 4-1 on aggregate, in the first round of last season's Uefa Cup.

Zurich gave Madrid a scare two weeks ago before the Spanish giants scored two late goals to gain a respectable result against the Swiss champions – but it has been all downhill since for coach Bernard Challandes.

His side lost at Young Boys 3-0 last Wednesday, then slumped to a 2-1 home loss against Neuchatel Xamax over the weekend.

A simmering dispute between Challandes and standout midfielder Almen Abdi came to a head on Monday with an announcement that the 22-year-old Switzerland international will join Serie A team Udinese next season.

Abdi scored 19 goals in Zurich's title-winning campaign last year but has recently been left on the bench, reportedly because he refused to sign a new contract.