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Allegri hails Milan after Barcelona draw

Massimiliano Allegri singled out Luca Antonini for special praise after AC Milan held FC Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at the San Siro, a result that left Josep Guardiola satisfied but wanting more.

Allegri hails Milan after Barcelona draw
Allegri hails Milan after Barcelona draw ©UEFA.com

Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach
I wish to congratulate my side on their performance. We suffered more in the first half than the second, and Luca Antonini was brilliant marking Lionel Messi. Tonight we showed great commitment despite some difficult moments, and now we can think about the return – a draw or a win will see us through.

We approached the game in two different phases, the defensive one and the attacking one. We played better football after the restart, but in the first half we created several clear chances and despite the regret at not taking them we gained confidence. The final result is fair, now we know we can achieve qualification in Barcelona. It's very difficult to measure our chances for the return leg.

We fielded several players returning from injury and at some point I was obliged to change them because they were short of match fitness. Stephan El Shaarawy produced a pretty good display when I sent him on; he has great quality and created problems. This was the best of the three games we have played this season against Barcelona; we defended strongly and looked dangerous up front.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
That Milan are happy with tonight's result is the greatest praise for us. You never settle a tie in the first leg, and the only thing we are missing is an away goal. We deserve a lot of recognition for coming here and trying to play football. I give my players credit for managing 17 shots on goal.

To be champions you must come through all types of tests. We have come through many before and we will continue to do so. We must try to do things better each time, there is no other way. Apart from the first few threats – including [Zlatan] Ibrahimović's one-on-one with [Víctor] Valdés – they hardly had a shot the entire game.

The return match will be very difficult as Milan have a lot of quality but we know that to make it to the semi-finals we only have to win one game and we will need a full stadium and the backing of our supporters to achieve that. A draw will be no use to us at the Camp Nou.

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