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AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri did not hide his admiration for the traditions of hosts AFC Ajax as he anticipated a "tricky" Group G encounter in Amsterdam on Tuesday. His counterpart, Martin Jol, warned his side that the Italian visitors would pose exactly the same threat as the Real Madrid CF team that beat them on Matchday 1.
Martin Jol, Ajax coach
In Madrid we were enjoying the experience of it all too much before the match, when it should be after the match, and we forgot to play football because of that. The lesson we learned is that you play against a lot of quality. AC Milan also have that quality. With players like Ronaldinho, Zlatan [Ibrahimović], Robinho and Pato – who is out at the moment – you have to find a solution for that in defence. But up front, where we play at least five attacking players, we will also have to play the way we normally do at home.
They usually play 4-3-3. Zlatan is the best striker in the world in my opinion, he has shown that already in almost every league. Robinho is unpredictable and can do something phenomenal and when it's Ronaldinho's day... So I think they are no weaker then Real Madrid. They have a new coach, their results are usually good, and when those are good, the goals often will follow. I think that Milan, potentially, are one of the best teams in Europe.
Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach
I expect a good match on a high technical level. It could depend on the last training session if Ronaldinho plays or not. He's played a lot lately and I've not made my definitive line-up yet, but the team is not dependent on Ronaldinho alone.
I think tomorrow it will be an important match and a tricky one. Ajax are full of great players with lots of individual qualities and they play always a very particular kind of football. In the past Ajax had a really interesting team but also in recent years I've admired them. A lot has changed since the 70s and the years they won the European Cups, but I still get a lot of pleasure from watching them.
Teemu Tainio has not played since picking up a hamstring injury against Real Madrid on Matchday 1. Evander Sno is recovering after heart surgery and joins Kenneth Vermeer (Achilles), Thimothée Atouba (knee) and Nicolás Lodeiro (broken foot) on the list of long-term absentees. Rasmus Lindgren and Eyong Enoh are hoping to start despite picking up knocks in Saturday's game against FC Twente while top scorer Luis Suárez and defender Jan Vertonghen are back from suspensions that ruled them out in Madrid.
Massimo Ambrosini (knee) and Pato (thigh) were ruled out for three weeks after suffering injuries against AJ Auxerre on Matchday 1. Thiago Silva missed the Auxerre game because of a knee problem but is now available again.
25/09/10 FC Twente 2-2 Ajax
(Janssen 11, 62; El Hamdaoui 15, Enoh 68)
Enoh scored his first goal of the season against Ajax's fellow UEFA Champions League contenders to help extend their unbeaten run in the Eredivisie to 25 matches. They have won 19 of their last 21 league games. Mounir El Hamdaoui's goal took his tally to six in seven league outings this season.
25/09/10 Milan 1-0 Genoa CFC
Robinho made his first start for Milan and Ibrahimović scored his first goal at San Siro since hitting two in FC Internazionale Milano's 4-3 win against Atalanta BC in May 2009. The Sweden striker has scored six goals in as many games for club and country.
Did you know?
The clubs first crossed swords in the 1968/69 European Champion Clubs' Cup final, Milan triumphing 4-1 in Madrid. Ajax gained revenge in 1994/95 when they beat Milan, then defending champions, home and away in the group stage and then again in the final. Patrick Kluivert, later a Milan player, scored the only goal of the Vienna showpiece.
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