Guardiola and Rosell at the San Siro / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Josep Guardiola is aware of everything that surrounds the Champions League playoff that kicks off this Wednesday against Milan. History, tradition and a lot of top footballers at the height of their careers. “San Siro is one of the great stadiums in European football and AC Milan is one of the best teams in the world. In the quarter-finals of a competition like this, with an opponent like this one, you must be aware that have to play two excellent games or you won’t go through,” said the Barça manager.

“Ibra is unbeatable in the air”

The Azulgrana manager praised AC Milan’s team. “I expect to see the best Milan. They have great combative play, they’re good in the air, and they dominate long passes, thanks to Ibrahimovic,” said Guardiola. Guardiola said that the ex-Barça player “has a lot of solutions. He’s an important player for them. When he receives the ball, the whole offensive mechanism of the team snaps into play. He’s unbeatable in the air. We must try to deactivate him and AC Milan through ball possession.”

The 2-3, forgotten

AC Milan and Barça know each other well thanks to the two games in the Group Stage, the first ended in a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou and a 2-3 victory in Italy. Guardiola talked about Barça’s Group Stage game at the San Siro: “It didn’t go too badly. There’s somewhat of a bad memory of how we played here. It’s true that during certain periods of the game they have more chances than we would have liked, but we cannot forget that they have a team that can create chances. We also created quite a few chances that day.”

Guardiola does not want to look beyond tomorrow’s match, which he considers “more important” than the return leg. He also refused to talk about the possibility of winning the treble: “I don’t look beyond the match against Milan. The year we won the treble I never thought about it. If we don’t win on Tuesday or on Saturday, we can say goodbye to two titles. We have to take this one step at a time.”

Allegri: “We're ready”

Massimiliano Allegri, AC Milan manager, believes that his team must have an offensive mindset if they want to have any chance of reaching the semi-finales. “We have to score. I hope we’re learned something, we know how they play more or less. It will be a beautiful match, very difficult on a psychological level,” he said. Allegri also highlighted the importance of “no committing errors” that could aid Barça in creating goalscoring chances.

On the Thiago Silva’s absence, injured this weekend against AS Roma, allegri admitted that he’ll be missing a key player: “He’s a champions and we’ll miss him, but Nesta is in reasonable form and luckily we have other defenders that can play. I’d like to face Barça with a complete squad, but we’re ready.”

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