Captain Massimo Ambrosini says that attitude will be everything if AC Milan are to resist FC Barcelona in Tuesday's round of 16 second leg – and an away goal would not go amiss either.
The veteran midfielder is adamant that Milan's character in the face of a potential Barcelona fightback at the Camp Nou will determine whether or not they can protect their 2-0 advantage and reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
"Our attitude will define this match," said the 35-year-old former Italian international. "We have to face the match in a certain way – we have to prepare with a lot of courage. We have to read the game properly otherwise we will be making a big mistake. Our attitude has to be to want to hurt Barcelona. One goal would increase our chances massively."
Indeed, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari's second-half strikes at San Siro three weeks ago will be no guarantee of progress according to Ambrosini – hence the comment "it would be fantastic to score a goal". Which tallies with his opinion that the Rossoneri have to concentrate fully on their own strengths rather than fret too much about Barcelona.
"We have to make the most of this situation," said the 2003 and 2007 UEFA Champions League winner. "The more you worry about things, the more you are likely to play badly. Barcelona are so strong that they will play as they usually do: have possession and control the match. They can't have a different attitude. They might be fiercer but we're ready for that. Messi is their most important player but not the only one. Tomorrow we have to stop the whole of Barcelona."
The experience of Ambrosini – who made his third European appearance of the campaign in the defeat of the Blaugrana – may be vital to a Milan side that could feature the youth of M'Baye Niang, Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio. The tie, he cautions, still hangs in the balance. Last season's last-16 meeting with Arsenal FC is warning enough, considering how the Italian club's 4-0 lead was almost eaten away during a 3-0 second-leg defeat in north London.
"We have so much to lose but also so much to win," he went on. "We are in a positive situation, but in my opinion this tie still stands at 50-50. Last year we beat Arsenal 4-0 yet we were still close to being knocked out. We have players with a lot of experience, but I also know it won't be easy for our younger players, although the experience will do them good. Honestly, I don't think what happened against Arsenal will happen tomorrow. We don't see the match any other way than to play it with a knife held with our teeth."
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