Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti wants to avoid Milan or Inter in the next round of the Champions League.
The Blues will be seeded in next Friday’s last-16 draw, leaving them seven possible opponents for the next stage in the competition – Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Lyon, Milan, Inter, Stuttgart and Olympiakos.
“I admit that I would prefer to avoid a head-to-head with (Milan coach) Leonardo in February at Stamford Bridge,” the former Milan manager told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“But if it happens, it’s no problem. Football puts you in this type of situation.
“It already happened to (former Milan star) Kaka, who faced Milan with Real Madrid in the group stages.”
Ancelotti led Milan to Champions Leaguesuccess in 2003 and 2007, and he knows the strength of Italy’s representatives.
“It’s obvious that if we get Milan the emotional aspect would be something special,” he said.
“Chelsea v Milan would be a very particular situation for the both of us.
“The only problem if we get Inter is that from a technical standpoint they are a great team.
“I believe that in the runners-up group they (Inter) are the best side.To eliminate Italian teams is going to be difficult.”
Despite Chelsea being among the favourites to win the title, the Italian isn’t underestimating the task that lies ahead.
“I see a very balanced and uncertain tournament,” he said. “Besides Liverpool, all the top teams are in the contention.
“From the group winners, all the teams are difficult.
“The only one that has less experience is Arsenal, a very young side. They have lost several key players with respect to when they eliminated Milan two years ago in the last 16.
“Of the teams that finished runners-up in the group, I only see three teams at the same level as the group winners: Milan, Inter and Bayern Munich. The other sides are one step behind.”