Philippe Mexès said AC Milan's heart helped the Rossoneri beat Celtic FC 2-0 in their opening game of UEFA Champions League Group H.
While Celtic midfielders Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew believed the Scottish champions were unfortunate to leave San Siro with no points after a determined display, the France defender said the hosts "controlled the game well" as a late own goal by Emilio Izaguirre and Sulley Muntari's strike gave Milan victory. "It was a crucial win for us," Mexès told UEFA.com
Philippe Mexès, AC Milan defender
I don't think we suffered that much to be honest. We controlled the game well and finally managed to score in the final minutes. I don't think Celtic had so many opportunities – they had a couple of shots on goal but they really didn't trouble us. We controlled the game and finally scored when we had the chance.
It was important to get the points tonight as it was crucial to start the group with a win. We needed it especially to regain some confidence after our last match against Torino [FC] when we did not play well. Despite missing several players due to injuries, we proved that Milan have a big heart and now we can start focusing on the game against Napoli in good spirit. The next fixture against Ajax is important too, but all the matches are decisive in this group. We will try to play well in Amsterdam and come back to Milan with some points.
Cristián Zapata, Milan defender
I'm happy my shot helped Milan get this victory. It was deflected, yes, but it was still an important contribution, a deciding moment in the game. That goal allowed us to gain confidence; I want to dedicate it to my wife and daughter. It was a very good game for us, especially compared with our recent outing against Torino. Celtic have good players up front but we defended well tonight without giving many chances away. I hope we can continue like this.
Kris Commons, Celtic midfielder
You don't often see a team able to play as well as we did at San Siro and lose 2-0. We created a few chances but we didn't take them and now we are extremely disappointed. If we had got that goal, we would have had a big chance to win. Milan did not create many chances and when they did, [Fraser] Forster was always up to the task. Our next match is against Barcelona and we run the risk of finding ourselves with no points after two games. Last season we beat them but Barcelona are the best team in the world, so it will be extremely difficult for us.
Charlie Mulgrew, Celtic midfielder
Our belief hasn't changed after this defeat. We did not take our chance, Milan did; that's the story of the game so maybe it was a small lesson for us. I don't think this result changed much as regards the group and our chance to qualify – we just need to earn as many points as we can from now on. And the same can be said for Barcelona's victory against Ajax. We know what Barcelona possess, they are a great team, but we are up for that. We are very disappointed with tonight's defeat but we have to keep believing. It was just one game and there is a long way to go.
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