Zenit v AC Milan preview

Zenit St Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti is loath to do his former team-mate Massimiliano Allegri any favours when AC Milan arrive in Russia.

Last Updated: 02/10/12 at 17:22

Spalletti: Played with Allegri

Spalletti: Played with Allegri

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Tuscan-born midfielders played together at lowly Italian side Cuoiopelli almost 30 years ago and sparred briefly as coaches in Serie A before Spalletti departed Roma for Zenit in 2009.

Allegri soon left Cagliari for Milan, winning the Scudetto at the first time of asking before leading the Rossoneri to second place behind Juventus last season.

Spalletti may have brought two Russian Premier League titles to the Petrovsky Stadium, but a recent run of one win from seven games has raised questions over his position, with Allegri's long-term future in Milan also the subject of debate due to a disappointing return of just two wins from seven outings so far.

But Spalletti believes Wednesday night's Champions League Group C encounter is a gilt-edged opportunity for both tacticians to turn things around.

He told the Gazzetta dello Sport: "(Allegri) is a quality coach and he's always been confident in what he does.

"He still has the same quality that he had as a player. He is the same guy he always was when he's on the touchline.

"Much like (Zenit), our opposition are going through a rough patch.

"So I think that Milan will also try to use this game to restore a semblance of normality and turn their current predicament upside down.

"The result will be crucial for both teams."

Zenit endured a rude awakening in their opening game as Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga claimed a comprehensive 3-0 victory in Andalusia.

Spalletti added: "After the defeat in Malaga, if we struggle through the remaining group games our Champions League campaign will be very difficult.

"The most important thing is that our players rediscover their self-belief and quality because they've lost their way a bit. Everything else will follow.

"All our efforts must go toward getting back to a high level and when we play at our best we can beat anyone."

Wednesday's game offers Allegri's Diavolo the chance to get back among the goals in Europe after the drab goalless draw shared with Anderlecht two weeks ago.

The Rossoneri coach told the Gazzetta dello Sport: "I've always said that this is a balanced group and Milan will vie for qualification with Zenit right until the very end.

"Luciano is proving to be an excellent coach. He came close to winning the Scudetto with Roma and he has managed it in Russia.

"We'll have to be at our best against a side built to win the competition. But our objective is to take all three points."

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Champions League Fixtures

Tuesday, 17 February 2015
19:45
PSG v Chelsea  
Shak Donetsk v Bay Munich  
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Basel v FC Porto  
Schalke v R Madrid  
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Juventus v B Dortmund  
Man City v Barcelona  
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Arsenal v Monaco  
Leverkusen v A Madrid  
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
FC Porto v Basel  
R Madrid v Schalke  

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Tottenham thump Newcastle 4-0 to reach the semi-finals

Tottenham thrashed Newcastle United 4-0 at White Hart Lane to reach the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

Premier League: Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge to be treated by Boston Red Sox staff

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge is set to spend Christmas in Boston as he continues to receive treatment on a thigh injury.

League Two: Hartlepool's new manager Ronnie Moore ready for 'biggest job'

Hartlepool's new manager Ronnie Moore says he is taking on "the biggest job in English football".

Mail Box

Pulis To Liverpool Might Just Work

One Mailboxer believes that Tony Pulis managing Liverpool isn't as silly as you might think. Plus Bournemouth aren't that romantic and we're all guilty of ignoring Everton...

It's Not As Simple As Losing Luis Suarez...

That's the view of Liverpool fans in the mailbox as the Reds continue to struggle without their talisman. Suarez isn't doing particularly well at Barca either, it should be said...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property