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

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

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, 16 September 2014
19:45
Benfica v Zenit  
B Dortmund v Arsenal  
Galatasaray v Anderlecht  
Juventus v Malmo FF  
Liverpool v Ludogorets  
Monaco v Leverkusen  
Olympiakos v A Madrid  
R Madrid v Basel  
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Ajax v PSG  
Ath Bilbao v Shak Donetsk  

Footer 365

Premier League: The stage set for Mario Balotelli to become a Liverpool star, says Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard insists the stage is set for Mario Balotelli to become a star at Liverpool.

Transfer news: Tottenham strike deal for Montpellier midfielder Benjamin Stambouli

Tottenham have agreed a fee with Montpellier for defensive midfielder Benjamin Stambouli, according to the French club.

Transfer news: Chelsea confirm agreement with AC Milan for two-year Fernando Torres loan

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres will have a medical at AC Milan on Saturday ahead of an agreed two-year loan deal.

Mail Box

Surely A Spurs Fan Should Remember...

...what happened to the fourth Champions League place the last time an English team won the thing. Plus, who would want to pay £60 to watch the current England team?

Ginger Pirlo? Don't Make Me Laugh...

A Sunderland fan in the mailbox is surprised by Jack Colback's call up to the England squad. Plus, thoughts on Welbeck and Liverpool's Champions League draw...

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