Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his players for their efforts after the Italian side overcame arch-rivals Internazionale on away goals to reach the Champions League final.

A 1-1 draw was enough for Milan to book their tickets to Manchester, where they will meet either Real Madrid or Juventus in the final on 28 May.

“I am very happy,” Ancelotti said.

“I have to thank theplayers because they are the ones who have got us to Manchester. It was a good game, very even, and I am more than pleased with the result.”

However, he was not surprised by Inter’s fightback, which was capped by an 84th-minute equaliser from substitute Obafemi Martins.

“You didn’t know which way the game was going to go,” Ancelotti added.

“I wanted us to carry on playing as we had been (in the first half) but Inter always put up a fight. You probably didn’t see the best of either team because it was tense out there.

‘Milan and Inter will probably never meet again in a Champions League semi-final so it was a huge game for both clubs. I am just delighted to be going to Manchester.”

Ancelotti also offered words of sympathy for his Inter counterpart Hector Cuper.

“Inter are one of the best teams in Europe,’ said the Milan coach. ‘They reached the semi-finals which is something the likes of Manchester United couldn’t do.”

Asked which team he would prefer to face in the final, Ancelotti replied: “Real Madrid or Juventus would be a great game, although it would be intriguing for Italian football if we played Juve.”

Meanwhile, a disappointed Cuper praised his team’s performance.

“We had more clear chances on goal but the ball wouldn’t go in. But I am pleased with the performance. We played well in the second half and created openings.

“We had the misfortune of conceding a goal at the end of the first half but came back and could even have won the game. But there’s no point talking about luck in a semi-final – we had our chances and couldn’t put them away.”

“We haven’t won anything in the two years I have been here but to reach a semi-final takes a lot of hard work. It is an achievement in itself.”