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Bettering Barca

Ruud Gullit admits AC Milan's win over Barcelona wasn't pretty, but it was the best way to combat the style of the Spanish giants.

Last Updated: 20/02/13 at 22:52 Post Comment

Boateng (r): scored Milan's opener

Boateng (r): scored Milan's opener

Goals from Kevin Prince-Boateng and Sulley Muntari secured a shock 2-0 win for the Italian side on Wednesday evening and gives them a strong chance of qualification for the quarter-finals ahead of the return at the Nou Camp in three weeks.

Lionel Messi and co barely created a chance in the game as Milan nullified their famously fluent style and former Rossoneri player Gullit said the defensive tactics employed by Massimiliano Allegri gave his team the best possible chance.

"I didn't expect that at all, but it's the way to fight them," he told Sky Sports.

"Barcelona are too good and you cannot outplay them. Not one team in the last five years have done that.

"They made it difficult for them to find ways in the middle. I didn't see Messi; he played on the outside and they were doubling him and were working very hard. They deserved this win and credit to Milan.

"Of course the purists, especially in Holland, will moan because they all back Barcelona in the way they play, but sometimes you have to find a different way to play.

"I always compare it a little bit with Muhammad Ali when he had his fight with George Foreman. He was on the ropes all the time - the greatest boxer ever went there in defence - and if he can win in that way, then that's exactly what Milan should do with Barcelona."

Celebrate

Glenn Hoddle, who was also in the Sky Sports studio during the game, suggested that Milan's players celebrated the victory too vigorously at the end, given there is another 90 minutes of football to be played in the tie.

But Gullit said it was a huge night for his former team, who currently trail Juventus by 11 points in Serie A, although he feels the tie is far from over.

"It is still game on," he added.

"But I watched Barcelona half an hour from the end and they had no idea what to do. It was funny to see because they almost always find a way and yet they couldn't find it.

"The players wanted to celebrate with the crowd because nobody expected it and I think the Milan crowd needed this success to boost the team and Milan itself.

"They also gave the crowd everything. It was fully packed and they were behind the team the whole time - and they wanted to reward them. It was great to see."

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Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

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