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By ESPN Staff

Gattuso shocked by Milan Euro progress

Gennaro Gattuso cannot believe AC Milan are one step away from the Champions League final after a nightmare start to the season.

The Rossoneri began the Serie A campaign with an eight-point deduction for match fixing and had to go through pre-qualifying in Europe's elite club competition.

They have also overcome numerous injuries and go into Wednesday's semi-final return leg against Manchester United determined to write another glorious page in the club's history books.

'Considering all the problems we've had this season, we can truly say that it is almost a miracle that we have arrived so far,' said Gattuso on the club's official website.

'We had to play the Champions League qualifiers, we had to alter our preparation plans, and those players (including Gattuso) who were a part of Italy's World Cup-winning side had limited holiday.

'We also had so many injured players this season, but despite everything, no-one has yet been able to bring us down.'

The Rossoneri go into the encounter at the San Siro needing to overturn the 3-2 deficit conceded at Old Trafford last week.

The AC Milan midfielder believes the support of their fans will be crucial for their hopes of earning a ticket to the final in Athens on May 23.

'Now we have the possibility to take another giant step and oust a top club like Manchester United and we need something special, the support of our fans,' said Gattuso.

'We will show our pride, passion and experience but this time our fans, that have always been very passionate, will need to surpass themselves.

'I want an atmosphere like that seen at Old Trafford, warm but correct.

'May the support of our fans help us fly to Athens.'

The pride of Italian football rests on the Rossoneri's hands as they remain the only non-British club left in the Champions League, with Chelsea and Liverpool battling in the other semi-final.

'Against Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs' Manchester United, we will try to defend the honour of Italian football,' said Gattuso.

'We also want to make our club history even more prestigious because no-one has played four semi-finals in the last five editions of the Champions League as we have.

'If we manage to overturn last week's defeat at Old Trafford we will also have the possibility to play in our third final.'

However, should they fail to succeed on Wednesday, the Rossoneri will be the first to congratulate Man Utd.

'If, despite our efforts, Manchester happen to be stronger than us, we will accept the verdict in good sporting spirit,' said Gattuso.