Paolo Maldini has bemoaned AC Milan’s injury luck, but believes tonight’s game against Manchester United is an opportunity to stand up and be counted.
The second leg is excellent poised as the first instalment of the last 16 tie ended 1-1 at Old Trafford a week ago, with Amad Diallo’s second half header cancelled out by Simon Kjaer’s injury time equaliser which earned Milan not only a deserved draw but a vital away goal too.
The Rossoneri will be up against it from a selection point of view with no centre-forward fit enough to start. Leao and Rebic are injured and Ibrahimovic has just come back from a lengthy lay-off, so Castillejo has gotten the nod as a ‘false nine’ style frontman.
Maldini spoke to Sky Italia before the game against Manchester United, with his words relayed by MilanNews and translated below.
On the current moment: “We have had an incredible series of injuries, especially in the attacking department where we are in serious difficulty but our mentality must remain the same. This is what has brought us to this point.”
On the Milan season: “The season saw us as protagonists, it was more difficult to imagine doing, but our strength is not to be satisfied. Our strength is not to feel sorry for ourselves for the absences and we go on.”
On the 2007 tie: “I remembered the 2007 match especially with Pioli for tactical reasons, things have changed in football, but quality is quality and there was a lot of it there.”
On formations: “Our idea is to do everything we can do. Even the formation must be adapted to the moment, we are firm on the mentality.”
On the difficulties: “We have to remember where we started from, last year’s run-up, Rio Ave… These are all sacrifices that lead you to play this game with motivation. Playing against this great team, in a league economically of another level, to feel able to compete.”
On Manchester United: “An opponent who recovers important players is really of the highest level, the Italians have had difficulties in the European cups but we are here to play for it.”
On Seedorf: “I knew I had him on the pitch and that he always wanted the ball, having him always available for me was a pleasure. Tactically things have changed but the quality remains, Clarence would make a difference even now.”