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Milan seek redemption with PSV play-off win

Beaten on Saturday by Serie A newcomers Hellas Verona FC, AC Milan can "redeem" themselves in their play-off with PSV Eindhoven, says coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Mario Balotelli and Milan were frustrated by Verona on Saturday
Mario Balotelli and Milan were frustrated by Verona on Saturday ©AFP/Getty Images

If qualification for the UEFA Champions League group stage was not incentive enough for AC Milan, the Rossoneri have the added motivation of wanting to atone for a shock weekend defeat when they host PSV Eindhoven.

Four days after drawing 1-1 with the Dutch club in the first leg of their play-off tie, Massimiliano Allegri's men were upset 2-1 by promoted Hellas Verona FC in their first game of the Serie A season. Having taken the lead at the Stadio Bentegodi through Andrea Poli, Milan succumbed to a pair of headers from veteran front man Luca Toni, meaning they failed to win their opening fixture for the third successive campaign.

For Riccardo Montolivo, the visit of PSV is a chance to show "we are not the team who played on Saturday in Verona".  The midfielder added: "In the second part of last season we had continuity, this must be our starting point. On Saturday we had the wrong attitude. Now we have to forget all about that and prove what we can do.

"We realise the importance of this game. We know our responsibility and we feel it. We have to play for pride, because we want to be in the Champions League. We need to pull out something from inside of ourselves."

Allegri echoed the Italian international's comments, saying: "We played badly, so we don't want a repeat display. We must redeem ourselves after the Verona game and go back to the good performance we gave in Eindhoven."

That will be far from straightforward against a side that dominated the first 45 minutes last week, hitting the woodwork and forcing Christian Abbiati into several crucial saves, only to fall behind to a well-placed Stephan El Shaarawy header.

"They are a team who create a lot and we can't think about playing a defensive game," added the Milan coach. "We face a team who are playing well and who gave us trouble in the first leg. We don't have to focus on the result, but just try to win. Of course, it won't be easy."

PSV have never won at San Siro but they are unlikely to be intimidated by their surroundings, according to visiting coach Phillip Cocu, who said that his side's display in the first leg had given them confidence for the challenge ahead. "The difference [from the first leg] is that we didn't know what to expect," he said. "We played a good game and this gives us confidence to do as well here at San Siro."

Cocu faced Milan three times at San Siro as a player, including a 2-0 defeat in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League semi-final, and he added that he was relishing the feeling of being back there for a big match as a coach.  "Even for me it is very nice to be able to compete with a team like Milan," said Cocu, whose PSV side dropped their first points of the Eredivisie campaign in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Heracles Almelo.

"This brings tension, but it is a positive tension. I like this feeling I had as a player and I still feel as coach. We must be prepared for anything. I don't know how they will approach the game, if they will think more about attacking or defending. The important thing for us is to be prepared."