Allegri primed for UCL challenge
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri is already looking ahead to his side's double-header with Barcelona as he seeks three more points in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
After defeating Celtic 2-0 in their opening group stage fixture a fortnight ago, victory in Amsterdam against Ajax would allow the Rossoneri to go into their two games against the Catalans having already established something of a cushion, allowing them to wrap up qualification in arguably their two most demanding group fixtures, or be in a good position to do so in one of their final games.
"This is not a game which will decide our future in the competition, but certainly a win would give us a good percentage of going through," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia. "We would be able to go into the two games with Barcelona more serene and having six points after two games would not be bad."
Six points in two Champions League games would only be two short of the number of points they have accumulated in six Serie A fixtures so far this season, but the Milan coach believes his side are starting to turn the corner.
A 1-0 win over Bologna at the weekend lifted them to seventh in the table, but more importantly, it was a "step forwards" ahead of a demanding game at Ajax, and an arguably equally important one against Juventus at the weekend.
"We're still lagging behind a bit, but we're pulling ourselves together and getting the points we need," Allegri said. "We've been unlucky with players out and we need to find some consistency. We don't deserve only to have eight points, but it's happened and the table doesn't lie.
"We've got to roll up our sleeves and slowly but surely move into the position we should be in."
Allegri can count on Mario Balotelli once again in Amsterdam, the Italy striker suspended for one more game in Serie A, and he will replace Alessandro Matri in the Milan attack. "Matri's going to be on the bench because I won't have Balotelli at the weekend," revealed Allegri. "Tomorrow, our attack should be Robinho and Balotelli."