CHAMPIONS LEAGUE | AC MILAN - ATLÉTICO
Favourites tag counts for nothing in Europe, says Seedorf
AC Milan’s coach admits that on this occasion, his side are not the favourites but he remains confident his side can beat Atlético.
AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf insists that Atlético de Madrid are the favourites to progress from their Champions League Play-Off tie. The Dutch coach also praised the job which Diego Simeone is doing with the Rojiblancos and said that while his team might not be the bookies’ choice to advance, the 2007 final against Liverpool should serve his players as a reminder that the favourites don’t always win in European competition.
Milan’s current form: “The team is gradually improving and I’m satisfied with what we have done this week to prepare for this game. We’re fine but it’s the 2007 edition of the Champions League which represents what this tournament is all about for us. If we are united, we will be capable of doing much more”.
Atlético: “Apart from the Almería game, recently, the only team who have beaten them is Real Madrid. They’ve been at a very high level for a number of years now; they are a strong side who know exactly what they want”.
Kaká: “He’s not in his best moment of form. We are studying his situation. We hope he’ll be back with us but in the meantime, we have other options in mind”.
If Kaká doesn’t play, is Balotelli-Pazzini an option? “It’s possible, that’s an option open to us”.
Relevance of this match: “In terms of cachet, it’s a little different to other games. We want to progress to the next round on our own merits, through strength and enthusiasm. Atlético are the favourites but the Champions League isn’t like other competitions. There are many examples of teams who, on paper, are the underdogs but gain great results. It will be difficult but I have faith in our abilities. I’m sure we’ll see a great match”.
The effect of playing in Europe for Milan: “It’s special. You will see a completely different Milan. It’s a very important competition on a world level and should be seen as a special occasion. We are proud to be representing Italy”.
Simeone: “I only have words of praise for him because he is doing a fine job. I wish him the best – except against us of course. He’s is doing a great job with Atlético and I’m happy for him”.
Will the first leg at San Siro be decisive? “Not at all – this tie will be settled over two legs”.