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Nov 25, 2013

Allegri expects tough test at Celtic

Celtic trained for the final time ahead of their crucial UEFA Champions League match against AC Milan at Celtic Park.

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri says he does not necessarily expect his side to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League this week, predicting a tough challenge at Celtic on Tuesday.

Paul: Test of character

A win for the Rossoneri combined with a draw or win for Barcelona against Ajax would see the Italian side join the Catalans in the last 16, but Allegri is not convinced that will happen.

"Playing here at Celtic [Park] is another thing altogether," he said at a news conference on Monday, having seen Milan beat Celtic 2-0 at the San Siro on Sept. 18. "Tomorrow's game may not be enough for us to qualify. We're going to have to remain serene and play attentively."

Milan are in their worst form since being relegated to Serie B in 1982, and Saturday night's 1-1 draw with Genoa has only increased the pressure on Allegri.

It has been suggested that this could be his last game in charge if the right result is not obtained, but Allegri is not allowing himself to be distracted by the speculation.

"We're just thinking about getting results," he said. "We've not got them in the league when we could and should have got them, so now we'll try to get them in the Champions League. I don't understand why I should not be here [in January], even if it's normal to be under discussion.

"We had a similar start last season, but crying gets you nowhere. We need to think about what will be and not what could have been."

Allegri was more upset about the leaked news of Mario Balotelli's late arrival to training on Monday.

"These things should not come out and I'm angered by it," he said. "It happens. I'm just sorry that some stories come out, and I ask myself where they emerge from.

"Mario has got to play a great game and we expect a lot of him. He's not in a great moment of form and he was unlucky with the penalty on Saturday. I hope he has a fire burning in his belly to turn around what's happened in recent matches."

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