FC Barcelona – AC Milan – Preview 13 /09/2011 Uefa Champions League

Barcelona player Andres Iniesta

“the team is feeling really good and here we are starting the Champions League campaign at home against a powerful opponent. It’s important to start on the right foot and taste victory again. We will be doing so with the maximum motivation and excitement”.

“they are a club with seven European Cups. It doesn’t matter who is playing, they will always be one of the big teams. However they play, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to play against a team like them”.

“it’s a pity that he (Ibrahimovic) can’t play –he’s a great player and you always want to play against good players. He really wanted to come and play and it’s a shame he can’t make it. However, I don’t think that takes anything away from the game which should be fantastic”.

“fortunately I have never had any problems with anybody I’ve shared a changing room with. It’s true that during the final there was some rough play, but I prefer to think there was no malicious intent. He’s (Van Bommel) an opponent, but above all we are professional companions and I respect him in all respects”.

Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri

“The team has trained very well after the Lazio game, we are ready to play this game, it is the first game of the Champions League and we want to start well. We will have to be careful in defence and do well up front. At the moment they are the team that plays the best football, they have so much quality both individually but also as a team, but we also have some great players, we are a very good side, we are Milan so we have to play with courage. You never know what can happen in football.

I will change some players who played against Lazio, I will decide after this morning’s training session. We must concentrate throughout the entire match, we have to respect Barcelona. We have to try and play a good game then we’ll see what happens. It is the second time that I go to Barcelona after the Gamper Trophy but I am calm about tomorrow night, it isn’t a final, just the first match of the group stages. We are playing against a side that has won so much but our aim is to get through the group stages.

“We have to play a different game to the first 20 minutes against Lazio, we were too spread out and we cannot afford to play like that for 20 minutes against Barcelona. Then we did well to come back against Lazio and we almost won the game…

The game against Barcelona will highlight the kind of shape we are in at the moment. Compared to last season we have played less friendlies, and that is how I wanted it. We don’t have to be scared tomorrow and we can’t play like the first 20 minutes against Lazio.

We have to be well balanced knowing that we have a tough task on our hands. Ibra will play up front then I still haven’t decided between Pato and Cassano even if Pato is the favourite. Then I also have a doubt about Nocerino or Ambrosini. We are doing checks on Robinho but I don’t think he will come to Barcelona.

The first matches of Serie A? Palermo-Inter was a great game, Palermo did really well but Inter also showed what they can do despite the defeat. Pirlo? Everyone knows that Andrea is quality and I am happy that he played a great game, it isn’t as of he has forgotten to play football just because he has left Milan.

“Ibra showed that he is world class at Barcelona and he is still showing it now. We have to have respect for Barcelona but not be scared of them. We have to try and make our quality count on the pitch. Cassano? He played a great game against Lazio and he will do very well this year and in the last 20 days he has reached a good level of fitness.

Tomorrow I will have to choose between Pato and Cassano but I think this type of game suits Pato more. Pato’s average goal tally for Milan is very high, my choices will not be based on how many goals they have scored in the Champions League. Pato is 22, he can improve a lot and if he plays tomorrow then I am sure he will do very well. Barcelona always play in the same way, they are technically very gifted and the almost always dominate their matches with possession but they can have moments when they lose their concentration.”

Barcelona player Sergio Busquets

“Morale is not the best today but we’ll give a reaction.

“Milan is another game, another competition, and we’ll go for it. With the help and support of our fans we’ll make it a great night in the Champions League.

“Milan have great players, especially up front. Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho and Cassano are very dangerous and we’ll have to keep an eye on them.”

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