Milan enter tonight’s second leg Champions League encounter with Manchester United, confident that their experienced defence will carry them through to the next round.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg at Old Trafford, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is expecting another tight match tonight.
“I think Manchester United will play the same type of match as in the first leg,” the Milan coach said.
“But I don’t expect either team to create a lot of scoring opportunities.”
Ancelotti is expecting his players to be patient tonight, especially as a number of their recent victories have come as a result of late winners.
“We have been creating a lot of opportunities in the latter stages of games,” Ancelotti explained.
“That shows that even if we play with more vehemence while the opposition lose their rhythm.
Sir Alex Ferguson agreed with Ancelotti, aruing that the game could be settled late on.
“It is not the easiest task but it is not impossible,” said Ferguson.
“That’s the key to the game. If we can keep Milan out that gives us a great chance. Even with 20 minutes left and the score at 0-0, I would be happy.”
Ferguson will also be hoping that history repeats itself tonight. Four years ago, after a drawn first leg against Ancelotti’s Juventus,United went 2-0 down early on in Turin but rallied to win the match 3-2. However, Ferguson believes tonight’s task even greater.
“We are up against a formidable team,” he acknowledged, as his side prepared for their attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
“Given Milan’s record and history, and the fact they have won the European Cup six times, this is the hardest of all the European games that we have had over the years.”
“At this level an away goal counts for a lot and you saw that in the faces of our players after Milan scored [in Manchester]. We hope we can do the same.”
The return of prolific striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is a boost for United. Although used as a second-half substitute in the first leg, the Dutchman is now match fit following his achilles injury. Aware of the challenge ahead, Van Nistelrooy said: “If we can get a good result from this game then it will be a big boost for our confidence.
“We have a massive task ahead of us but I feel I’m improving. I had 20 minutes against Milan two weeks ago but I’ve had two full games since then and all the training as well. Physically I am at my best and hopefully I can show that.”
Meanwhile, Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko is still out after suffering a broken cheekbone during a Serie A match against Cagliari Calcio in February.
Filippo Inzaghi, back from injury against Atalanta at the weekend, will start on the substitutes’ bench and if needed, will make a late entrance tonight.
“Inzaghi has trained very little,” warned Ancelotti. “But he showed in Bergamo he can come on and get into the game.”
Milan (4-3-1-2): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Inzaghi, Crespo
Manchester United (4-4-2): Howard; Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze; Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Rooney, van Nistelrooy
Referee: H Fandel (Germany)