Slavia Praha duo fire warning to Milan ahead of UEL meeting: “Nothing to lose”

By Oliver Fisher -

Slavia Praha duo David Zima and Tomáš Vlček have sent a warning to AC Milan ahead of tomorrow night’s game at San Siro, given their status as the big favourites for the tie.

Milan will entertain the side from the Czech capital tomorrow night at San Siro in the first leg of the last 16 tie hoping to get the bulk of the work done in front of their home fans as they did against Stade Rennais in the play-off round.

However, Slavia arrive as a very dangerous threat given that they topped a group which included Roma, meaning that they secure progress straight into this phase. They beat the Giallorossi at home too, and have caused issues for Inter in the past as well.

They come into the game having been knocked out of the cup by their bitter rivals Sparta Praha last midweek, and then they drew against the same opponents in the league when they were hoping to win and narrow the four-point game.

Zima returned to his homeland after two and a half years with Torino and he spoke exclusively to MilanNews about the last 16 tie.

After a few months you return to Italy and in a spectacular setting like that of San Siro…

“For me it’s a great match, I’m sure there will be a lot of quality on the pitch and entertainment in the stands. I assure you that when you return to Prague you will find a red hot atmosphere.”

Milan are the favourites on paper…

“In international matches we often find ourselves in this situation. And in any case it was like this against Roma too, then Slavia won the head to head and finished ahead in the group. This is why I say that we can certainly win. But then, it’s clear we are the underdogs.”

Have you given advice to your coach on how to face the Rossoneri?

“There is no need, Trpisovsky is a great coach, he has been at Slavia for six years and is very prepared. He has an impressive mentality, he knows how to read the game and change the team’s tactics and characteristics. switching to 4-4-2 or to 4-5-1”.

To offer a comparison, given the three-man defence, can we liken him to Juric?

“Correct in the three-man defensive structure, but which, as mentioned, tends to vary during the course of the game. Juric is more defensive and linked to the usual formation, Trpisovsky’s approach is more devoted to attack. As far as I definitely bring the Slavia trademark to intensity and character. We are a team with a great spirit.”

Intense and attacking football, is that something you will show tomorrow too?

“It obviously depends on how the match develops, so we can’t say. We will certainly have the light-heartedness of those who have nothing to lose.”

Light-hearted, but perhaps tired after two very tight derbies?

“Of course, it would have been better to arrive at San Siro after calmer matches, but little changes. I’m sorry for the cup defeat last Wednesday because we were 2-0 up and it’s hard to then accept losing. In the league we played away and changed tactics, in the end we didn’t get better than a 0-0 but we gave everything.”

Your personal record against Milan is positive: two wins and a draw…

“There is a match that I have in my heart and that is the Coppa Italia where we won 0-1 in extra time against Toro. We won it 10 against 11, I come in every match underway and at the end we surprise everyone with Adopo’s goal.”

The opponent you will have to face up close will be one of either Giroud or Jovic…

“I played against them, they are two top players and I know them very well. They have different characteristics, I can’t say if one or the other is better.”

You could find another opponent in a few months at the European Championships – Rafael Leao – given Czech Republic and Portugal were placed in the same group…

“He was the player who gave me the most difficulty in my first year in Serie A. It was their Scudetto season, I didn’t know him that well and he impressed me a lot with his speed. Then fortunately with experience you know how to manage yourself better and you find countermeasures.”

You spent time at Torino with Tommaso Pobega…

“On the one hand, I’m sorry that he’s injured, because he’s a friend. On the other hand, it relieves me because I know how dangerous he can be (laughs). Fantastic guy, a friend and a very strong player.”

One player that Milan admire is Alessandro Buongiorno, a player who you have seen grow exponentially in recent years…

“Along with Bastoni, I believe he is the best Italian central defender. I was sorry for his injury, but I saw that he is back and is well. I believe that if an offer comes from a big club he should accept. If it’s true that Milan wants him, it’s a great opportunity to grow.”

Meanwhile, Zima’s defensive team-mate Tomáš Vlček spoke to Slavia’s official channel yesterday before their departure for Milan where they landed last night. MilanNews also relayed his comments.

“I can’t wait, it’s a huge club with a wonderful stadium and great fans. These are matches you want to play. Matches like that are a dream for all of us, we are determined to make it. I am enjoying this period very much,” he said.

“I can’t wait for the match in Milan. Five thousand fans at San Siro? We are all really grateful for this. They were incredible already on Sunday, we felt them all match from the first to the 90th minute.

“They are incredible, they come with us everywhere. A huge thank you for selling out the entire sector on a weekday. We appreciate it and want to reward them ”


Tags AC Milan David Zima Milan Slavia Praha Tomáš Vlček
Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.