AJ Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez wants to "create an upset" while AC Milan's Massimiliano Allegri is determined not to take a backward step in the quest to qualify from Group G.
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Having recorded their first UEFA Champions League Group G victory at the fourth attempt, at home to AFC Ajax last time out, AJ Auxerre have their tails up and will, in the words of coach Jean Fernandez, aim to "create an upset" against AC Milan at the Stade Abbé-Deschamps. The Rossoneri defeated Auxerre 2-0 on Matchday 1 and are flying in Serie A, yet are taking nothing for granted in the race to qualify along with Real Madrid CF from a keenly-contested section.
Jean Fernandez, Auxerre coach
Our win against Ajax was great for us. We had played well before that but we were lacking something. Those three points were good for confidence. We're not thinking about second or third place, we'll stay humble. We are playing a great team with great individuals. We want to play well and then we'll see if we can create an upset but Milan are favourites. We have an advantage because we are playing at home, and have nothing to lose. We were drawn in a very difficult group but we have shown that we can produce great performances. We are a stronger team now, but so are Milan – they have found their balance. We are stronger on the pitch and in our heads. Anything is possible.
Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach
Auxerre will have a very different team compared to our first meeting. This team have played some good games – beating Ajax was a difficult thing to do. Tomorrow they have to win. It will be a game with a lot of intensity, and will be crucial for the rest of the competition. We have to win if we want to ease some of the pressure on ourselves before the last game in Milan [against Ajax]. We'll play an attacking team. We have a lot of injured players but I'm happy with the squad and those involved will have to produce even more in order to get a result.
Steeven Langil (knee) and Delvin Ndinga (leg) are both available, but Jérémy Berthod is out with a calf tear. Cédric Hengbart is back in action with the reserves after recovering from a torn hamstring, while Alain Traoré shook off a groin problem to play at the weekend.
Daniele Bonera returned to action at the weekend following a shin injury, but Luca Antonini, Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Oddo are all absent with thigh problems. Filippo Inzaghi (cruciate) and Pato (thigh) will not play again in 2010.
20/11/10 AS Saint-Étienne 1-1 Auxerre
(Perrin 54; Mignot 28)
Auxerre are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions, winning six. They won just two of their first 14 fixtures this term. Benoît Pedretti made his 300th Ligue 1 appearance against St-Etienne.
20/11/10 Milan 1-0 ACF Fiorentina
Milan have found the net in every home league game since a 2-0 defeat by US Città di Palermo on 13 December 2009. Allegri's team have won eight of their last nine league matches, the exception being on 30 October when Juventus inflicted their first home defeat in Serie A this year.
Did you know?
Auxerre coach Fernandez was assistant to Raymond Goethals when he led Olympique de Marseille to victory against Milan in the 1993 UEFA Champions League final. He was also part of OM's coaching team when they defeated Milan in the quarter-finals in 1991 – the Rossoneri losing the second leg 1-0 at the Stade Vélodrome on their first visit to France.
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