Galliani: UCL play-off is crucial for Milan
AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has described their two-legged Champions League qualifier against PSV Eindhoven as “the most important games of our season”.
The Rossoneri, seven-time Champions League winners, face a trip to Holland this week while their Serie A rivals are at home preparing for the start of the new season at the weekend.
PSV come into the tie with three league games -- and as many wins -- already under their belts, while Milan’s league campaign starts with a trip to Hellas Verona between the two Champions League matches.
“We already know about this with Italian football,” Mauro Tassotti, assistant to coach Massimiliano Allegri, told the Milan Channel. “We’ve got to be very careful in games like these, since your physical condition can totally disrupt all the other technical values you have.
“We’ve been preparing for this game throughout pre-season, trying to get into the best condition possible. Of course playing friendlies, even the most prestigious ones, is not the same as playing competitive league games, but we’ve done all we can.
“We must focus on this first leg and get a good result because we need to get through this round. It’s fundamental for many reasons.”
Mario Balotelli has recovered from the knee injury that ruled him out of Italy’s recent friendly with Argentina, and scored a brace in an 11-0 warm-up victory over Derthona at the weekend.
Allegri will be without Giampaolo Pazzini, who has not even been included in the squad registered with UEFA, while Robinho has been ruled out of the first leg due to injury, meaning Kevin-Prince Boateng and M’Baye Niang are vying for a place just behind the two forwards.
Tassotti said PSV’s Philips Stadion was “not the biggest stadium around, but it’s very intimidating with a great atmosphere”. He added: “We know what to expect, and this first leg is not going to be easy for the aforementioned reasons, and also for their fans.”