Mathieu Flamini believes AC Milan can still progress to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals despite losing the first leg of their last-16 tie 1-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Having played for four seasons with Tottenham's north London rivals Arsenal FC, the midfielder knows better than his team-mates what to expect from the game at White Hart Lane on 9 March, as they attempt to make up for losing to Peter Crouch's 80th-minute goal. "It will be a special occasion for me to go back to Tottenham," Flamini told UEFA.com." It will mean a lot to me to win this match, perhaps more than anyone else.
The tie is still there to be won, it won't be easy but we have shown we can create chances and it's up to us to play a great match in London."
Spurs were clearly the better side during the first half at San Siro, yet Milan pushed hard in the second, forcing Heurelho Gomes to make a couple of great saves before Crouch's sucker punch. "It was a real shame because we played a good second half," the 26-year-old Frenchman continued. "We created several chances but unfortunately we were hit on the counterattack when we were on top and that's why it's such a shame we lost.
"The difference was that we pressed them a lot higher up the pitch in the second half," Flamini explained. "We started developing our football more after the break and that's the direction we need to keep heading in. We must go to London without any complexes and do everything in our power to turn things in our favour."
It was an opinion shared by Milan right-back Ignazio Abate, whose pace makes him the ideal man to mark Gareth Bale should the Wales winger return after missing Tuesday's encounter through injury. "It was a strange match," Abate said. "In the first half we didn't manage to press them back in their half but the second half was much better, we kept them pegged back, we won back possession in their third of the pitch. We had them on the ropes and perhaps with a bit more clear-mindedness in front of goal we could have scored.
"Their tactics were to be expected," the 24-year-old continued. "They came to play for a 0-0 which is normal and it's the advantage you have when you play the first leg away from home. However we will just have to go there and bring all of our qualities into the equation. It won't be easy obviously because of the way things went tonight but we must stay calm, forget about this evening and win in London."
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