Anderlecht coach Franky Vercauteren hopes his side can build on the promising start made to the group campaign when they Milan tonight.
Successive draws against Lille and AEK have given the players the self-belief that may have been lacking in previous campaigns.
“My team is very young and many players are finding their feet at this level but I always felt we’d improve on last season,” he said.
“My players are ready to give everything. We’re younger and perhaps hungrier than them, even if they have more experience.”
Milan have scored just one goal in their last four matches, but Vercauteren is not reading too much into that statistic.
“I hope their goalscoring problems continue but I’m not convinced they will because they have so many players who can create and score,” he said.
Vercauteren will bring Mark De Man into a three-man defence following an injury to Nicolas Pareja. Moroccan forward Mbark Boussoufa should start just behind Nicolas Frutos and Mohamed Tchite.
Carlo Ancelotti believes his side have been too ponderous while in possession.
“The main problem is that we’re not playing quickly enough,” he said.
Of Gilardino, who has not scored for Milan since April, Ancelotti added: “He’s fine. Strikers are only truly happy when they’re scoring but Gilardino still has plenty of confidence.”
Ancelotti is expected to rest Cafu and Paolo Maldini, with Daniele Bonera and Marek Jankulovski coming in. Massimo Ambrosini, Serginho and Yoann Gourcuff are absent but Ancelotti remains confident.
“After drawing with Lille we want to win and move closer to qualification,” he said.
“I don’t know Anderlecht well but I’ve seen them in the Champions League and have a lot of respect for them. They pass the ball well and construct the play carefully. We’ll need to be on our toes because it’s important we get a good result.”
Daniel Zítka; Roland Juhász, Mark De Man, Olivier Deschacht; Anthony Vanden Borre, Yves Vanderhaeghe, Lucas Biglia, Bart Goor; Mbark Boussoufa; Nicolas Frutos, Mohamed Tchite.
Dida; Daniele Bonera, Alessandro Nesta, Kakha Kaladze, Marek Jankulovski; Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf; Kaká; Ricardo Oliveira, Filippo Inzaghi.
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