AC Milan 0 Barcelona 0: Pep Guardiola upbeat despite stalemate
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola felt his side deserved to beat AC Milan after being held to a goalless draw at San Siro
Pep Guardiola refused to be disheartened after his Barcelona side were held to a goalless draw by a resilient AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at San Siro.
The holders enjoyed 62 per cent of possession in Milan and conjured up 17 attempts in an entertaining clash – but Massimiliano Allegri’s side held firm to leave the tie wide open ahead of the return leg at Camp Nou next week.
“That Milan are happy with tonight’s result is the greatest praise for us,” said Guardiola after the game. “You never settle a tie in the first leg, and the only thing we are missing is an away goal.
“We deserve a lot of recognition for coming here and trying to play football. I give my players credit for managing 17 shots on goal.
“To be champions you must come through all types of tests. We have come through many before and we will continue to do so. We must try to do things better each time, there is no other way.
“Apart from the first few threats – including [Zlatan] Ibrahimović’s one-on-one with [Víctor] Valdes – they hardly had a shot the entire game.
“The return match will be very difficult as Milan have a lot of quality but we know that to make it to the semi-finals we only have to win one game and we will need a full stadium and the backing of our supporters to achieve that.”
Meanwhile, Milan boss Allegri hailed his side’s commitment, and reserved special praise for Luca Antonini, who did well to contain Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
“We suffered more in the first half than the second, and Luca Antonini was brilliant marking Lionel Messi,” he said.
“Tonight we showed great commitment despite some difficult moments, and now we can think about the return – a draw or a win will see us through.”