Massimiliano Allegri said qualifying a game early was a "confidence boost" after AC Milan's 2-0 win at AJ Auxerre ensured Group G second place behind Real Madrid CF.
Article top media content
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri took comfort from a third successive clean sheet as the Rossoneri advanced to the Round of 16 after winning 2-0 at AJ Auxerre to secure second placein UEFA Champions League Group G. It was not until the 64th minute that Zlatan Ibrahimović broke the deadlock and Auxerre's Jean Fernandez took heart from a strong display, though he must now turn his attentions to a battle for third spot with AFC Ajax for a place in the UEFA Europa League.
Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach
We will return to Milan stronger than we were before because qualifying with a game to spare from a group as tough as this is a real confidence boost. What I liked most is that we didn't concede a goal for the third consecutive game. We didn't give them good opportunities to score, while we created a few and Ibrahimović took his in the best possible way. Our physical condition is better now than at the beginning of the season, the players know me better and they are more prepared to sacrifice themselves for the good of the team. What would happen to us without Zlatan given that Pato and Inzaghi are injured? We would have less power in attack but Ronaldinho and Robinho can do as well. I'm sure we would cope.
Jean Fernandez, Auxerre coach
For an hour we saw a good AJA team again. Milan made the difference after the hour.
We have no regrets, especially regarding the second half. I felt the players' disappointment though. They were full of hope at the break. We played well in the first half but struggled to finish. We felt after the first half that we could do something and started the second half well even if Milan had more possession. The [first] goal broke our momentum. Mentally we did well but we were not good enough technically with too many strikes missing the target and crosses going astray.