Massimiliano Allegri has hailed his Milan side’s collective effort in defeating Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League Last 16.
Goals from Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari decided the game in the Italians’ favour and left their Coach enthusiastic at full-time.
“The lads played well in defensive terms and didn’t let them near our penalty area,” Allegri told Mediaset.
“We knew Barcelona kept possession for about 65 per cent of the time, but we had five or six very favourable situations where we got the final pass wrong.
“They didn’t lose heart, even when Barcelona kept possession like that. My players all deserved this evening, as did the club and the President.
“Now we have to think about the derby, which is another important test we must overcome. We can put this result aside now, knowing the second leg will be very difficult and we must try to get another goal with a little more sharpness.
“We could’ve scored a third tonight, though it might’ve been excessive.”
The team successfully kept tabs on a quiet Lionel Messi and restricted the visitors in and around the penalty area.
“The players did well in intercepting passes and staying tight. We limited Leo Messi and above all did very well to stop the balls that they tend to put behind the midfielders.
“At the moment this result is not enough to qualify us, so we hope to get a positive result at the Camp Nou too.
“We’re not facing a different Barcelona in Spain, as this is their approach and they always play the same way.
“We used the ball well, though every now and then we make life difficult for ourselves and that is something we must improve on.
“In order to win these games, you need everyone to sacrifice themselves and work hard. We kept Barcelona out of our penalty area and they didn’t have a single real shot on goal.
“The players deserved this victory without question. Perhaps we were lucky with the ricochet on the first goal, but these things happen during a game.”
Milan now go into a local city derby with Inter.
“We need to stay relaxed. We won an important game against Barcelona, which I believed in and nobody else did.
“We have three days to recharge our batteries and prepare for the Derby, I see my team in good shape.”