Massimiliano Allegri explained his line-up choices for Milan and mused on the Rossoneri’s performance against Barcelona.
The Italians were defeated 3-1 at the Camp Nou but had a number of half-chances in an improved second-half display.
Notable to the visitors was Mario Balotelli’s presence only on the bench, and that drew focus afterwards.
“It’s simple, Mario had that injury on international duty and his recent performances were not sharp, so I preferred to start with the pairing that played in the first leg,” explained Allegri post-match.
“He did some good things in the second half. Of course people expect a lot from him, he has to improve and get accustomed to playing every three days, which he has never really done before coming to Milan. That’s tough both physically and psychologically.
“He did very well on a few occasions tonight, while in others he delayed the pass a bit too long. It is a particular shame for the third goal, as we had several chances to equalise this evening.
“The real regrets are that we didn’t get the final pass right in a few different attacking situations.
“At this moment playing in Barcelona with this consistency is impressive, as the team showed character and hunger.
“I chose this system to give Kaka more freedom to attack, as he worked so hard at San Siro and at times had to play as a full-back.
“When we get our players back from injury, we will find better performances and results. This performance should give us confidence, as the team kept its belief and shape even after going behind, which it did not do against Fiorentina.”
Robinho started alongside Kaka in attack.
“I chose Robinho because gives a different tempo to the side, played well at San Siro and did fairly well tonight too. We had done well under pressure from Barcelona.
“The club hierarchy knew about my choices. I spoke to the President before the game, as I always do, and told him Balotelli was not going to start. I did this for the good of the team and for the good of Balotelli too.”