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Mar, 28, 2012

Allegri: Milan can take heart from draw

Massimiliano Allegri thinks Milan can take great heart from their solid performance against European champions Barcelona ahead of their second leg showdown next week.

• AC Milan 0-0 Barcelona

Milan came under significant pressure at times from Barca, but came away with a clean sheet that could prove vital in the return leg at Camp Nou.

It could have been an even better evening's work for Milan, had Robinho or Zlatan Ibrahimovic taken two excellent chances early in the game.

But Milan travel to Spain next week with renewed belief that they can edge past Barcelona and set up a final four clash with either Benfica or Chelsea.

''At times we played very well and in the first half used up a lot of energy,'' Allegri said on Sky Sport Italia. ''We defended in a very organised fashion. We must be happy with the result, especially as we have two out of three results open to us in the second leg.

''Barcelona have scored in almost all their games, so I must compliment my lads for doing so well. It will be very tough in Spain, but this result gives us strength. 'When Leo Messi went deep, Massimo Ambrosini went to mark him. We've got to do better on set plays and high balls into the box, though.''

Allegri removed Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alessandro Nesta and Robinho in the latter stages of the game with the trio returning from injury.

''I had to make three substitutions due to physical problems," he added. "Hopefully some can start to recover for the second leg and others can find better form.''

Luca Antonini, who made some vital blocks to prevent Barcelona scoring, thinks Milan have a chance to make the semi-finals as long as they retain the same spirit in the second leg.

''We had clear chances, allowing Barcelona something, but we played a good game,'' he added. ''I think we could've done a bit more in attack and especially in the first half we created the opportunities, but it's very tough with them. In any case, we are happy with what we did tonight.

''I always watched Barcelona's stars on television and play them on video games, but Milan proved they can hold out against them.

''We will play with the same spirit in the second leg in Barcelona. We have to repeat this performance next week and are convinced of our qualities. Plus some of our players will return from injury.''

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