Champions League First Knockout Round – Second Leg (First Leg: 0-0)
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has dismissed claims that his side will be playing for a draw in their encounter with Milan on Wednesday, declaring: “Fortune favours the brave.”
After a goalless first leg in Glasgow a fortnight ago, Celtic take on the Milan aware that a score draw will be enough to reach the last eight of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
But Strachan insisted that playing for a draw is a dangerous game to play.
“There’s no set plan,” he said. “We’ll just play and see what happens. You’d never be able to live with yourself if you played for a draw. Fortune favours the brave, and the talented … and the lucky.”
Celtic have lost eleven of 12 away matches in the Champions League and have not beaten an Italian team in six attempts, but Strachan hopes that the fear factor of facing Milan will work to his side’s advantage.
“You must have belief in everything you do and trust in the people around you,” he added. “And you need fear too; if you have the fear of getting beaten, that can drive you on. I hope that comes to the fore. Games like this test you – your true self comes out. But these boys have been a credit to the club all season and deserve to be where they are because of their belief.”
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose team have contested two finals, two semi-finals and one quarter-final in the last five seasons, believes his side have what it takes to succeed tonight.
“We have always had a positive approach in Europe and in recent years we’ve had a very good record in the Champions League,” he said.
“Milan will adopt an offensive gameplan. We will strive to impose ourselves on the match and create as many chances as possible. How many strikers we choose to play is irrelevant. What matters is our attitude on the pitch.”
“We’re going through a good spell,” said Ancelotti. “On a physical and technical level, we are looking good. Qualification is fundamental for us. The Champions League is our number one objective and we want to go all the way.”
Milan captain Paolo Maldini is expected to recover from a knee injury and Filippo Inzaghi may also return from a month-long absence with a thigh injury. Celtic are expected to remain unchanged from the first leg as Stephen McManus has overcome a groin strain.
Dida; Massimo Oddo, Daniele Bonera, Paolo Maldini, Marek Jankulovski; Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini, Clarence Seedorf; Kaká; Filippo Inzaghi.
Artur Boruc; Mark Wilson, Darren O’Dea, Stephen McManus, Lee Naylor; Shunsuke Nakamura, Evander Sno, Neil Lennon, Aiden McGeady; Kenny Miller, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.