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Thread: Man Utd. Vs. AC Milan

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    Registered User Haroon's Avatar
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    Champions League Cup Man Utd. Vs. AC Milan

    Although the game is almost a fortnight away, I thought to open this thread to have all the pre-match discussion in here as every other day there will be news, developments and statements coming in.


    First of all let us start with some of the things that happened in the UCL till now:

    Group Stage
    ==========

    Milan got the easiest group in the UCL. And we were quite lucky to get such an easy group because we were really not ready or equipped to take on a Group of Death AGAIN! That would have been the death knell for our side. We were also playing horribly at the start of the season.


    RD-16
    =====

    The performances in the group were nothing special as well. Pretty average performances but as expected we won the group and got another weak opponent in Celtic. Celtic is not a known powerhouse in football but even then there were question marks as to whether we could bide our time and get past them seeing that we were not in the best of form.


    We survived Celtic Park and then we were supposed to wrap up the game easy in the San Siro but struggled to find the goal. The match would have gone to the dreaded penalty shoot-out had it not been for the late Kaka winner in Extra-Time. Once again, not a performance to write home about.


    QF
    ==

    Next up was Bayern who had just disposed Real from the tournament again re-asserting their stronghold over the Spanish side in direct head to head battles. Bayern also had a very good away record going for them. Something that I have stressed quite a bit along with the away records of Pool and Chelsea.

    We needed to be wary. A mixture of complacency, cowardice and inviting trouble cost us big when Bayern equalized and made the first game 1-1. I don't know how most of you felt but at the time it felt really anti-climatic that Milan had probably messed up a reasonably good evening's work. We did however get the lucky break we craved for and Kaka was awarded a penalty that wasn't. The kid was cool and he sent it in. Milan up with 1 goal and a few minutes to go. Just when you think that we can survive with this slender 2-1 to take to Bavaria, we concede a gut-wrenching goal again!!! The first one felt bad enough. This second one was a pain in the proverbial!

    I don't know why we do it but it is a bad habit. We went into our shell and invited Bayern to come at us. They came and took the invitation.

    All in all it took me back a few years when I started reminding myself of the great comebacks after getting a draw in the first leg at home and I wrote my post that is in these forums.


    The Challenge
    ==========

    Milan needed to do something fast or it was farewell. The stars did favour a good upset as second legs in the QF are usually historic nights as I quoted in this great competition. 3 out of the 4 QF games had lots of drama with unexpected results one could say.

    Milan was mentally strong, lethal and focused to win no matter what!!! That is the type of big ball attitude required. We showed it. But we must also remember that this big step taken forward has also raised a glimmer of hope of a miracle in the works probably?

    The official match thread was a graveyard prior to the game. It was flat. The expectations of a turn around were low. But as I mentioned after the first leg, the tie was not over ... there was hope and a small chance of us pulling off a famous win.

    We became the first side to win in the Allianz Arena and that also marks for us a good away win this season. I always rate sides that have the capability to win away from home in the UCL. Good sides win at home. Great sides win away from home. This season Pool and Chelsea are the tricky customers in that regard. But we can't think of them yet. We have a two legged tie with Man Utd. who are on a high with a memorable thrashing of Roma.


    What Lies Ahead?
    =============

    There are a few things to consider here. Our first leg is away from home which is a good thing to most. Our second leg is at home which makes it seemingly easier as we know what to do in the return leg.

    That has its advantages but it also has its disadvantages. A bad result in the first leg can literally kill off the tie making the second tie useless. One has to be careful.


    APPROACH
    ========

    The second disadvantage has to do with how we approach the game.

    Fact 1: We know that Utd. won 7-1 and totally destroyed Roma. That could be in the back of the minds of the players. It may not but we don't know what is going through the heads of the players.

    Fact 2: We know that we beat Utd. 0-1 the last time we played them with a very good passing display that literally frustrated Utd. no end.

    Fact 3: Utd. have had a generally better season than us overall while we have not had a better season than them. They are in the hunt for the EPL title with rivals Chelsea and this one can go down to the wire. We are in a fight to reach 4th and this battle could go down to the wire as well.

    Fact 4: Both clubs had a miserly transfer campaign. Thin squads in general and the result is that the end of the season could start showing on the players. Milan is a bit more lucky here as we have not had to face tough opposition in the UCL unlike recent seasons where we had to deal with tough opponent after another causing us to run out of steam at just about this point in the season for each of the last 4 years at least. This time we are like a tortoise on pot. Smoking along and moving at a slow pace saving the best games and energy for pucker time.

    Fact 5: Utd. have never beaten or drawn Milan at the San Siro. This can be good and it can be bad. Milan has won in OT once but generally we have a pretty poor record in England.



    I don't know how many each of these factors counts but the most important will be the manner in which Milan approaches this game. Utd. have the momentum but we too have a small momentum with us. I think that Milan doesn't need to razzle and dazzle per se but the mindset should be to gun for the win at Old Trafford. That is a mark of an ominous team. A team that goes out to dictate its style of play on any ground and any condition. I don't think we should try to go for a scoring draw or a simple draw. The approach should be to orchestrate a win like we did. It was well crafted in Munich. It is a different situation and different opponent in rainy Manchester but the approach, focus and mental strength should not change. Yes, we should change the tactics a bit. Do homework on the opponents but the approach to craft out a win, the focus to get that win and the mental strength to remain determined on trying to get that win should be the factors to drive us.

    Complacency can hurt us. Being scared will kill us.

    These ties are two legs but the momentum counts a lot in these ties. Even an average result in the first leg with good performance can give good momentum for the second leg. We have a live example in front of us. We had the momentum in the first leg but we didn't have the result. In the second leg that momentum continued (but in a different way seeing that that was an away leg) and we got the result.

    Perseverence pays off so one must be persistent and at this stage it is the HUNGER that will win the day more than anything else. If we have HEART, we are on the right path already. So that is about the approach to the game. It is important to approach it correctly. Yes, bad **** can always happen at any time so we must be prepared to have ANYTHING happen to us. The focus can't be lost. If the team is prepared for everything then it can pull through a situation as a unit because of the belief.


    HOPE
    ====

    This is an exciting time as we reached the SF this time against the odds. The expectation wasn't there. Saying that we have to be silently hopeful rather than over-exuberant. Everybody needs to remind himself of the situation prior to the Bayern game in Munich rather than the situation after the game.

    We know that our team has the ability to get a result on its day but we also know that the team can lose on any day.

    Brief history has told us that Ancelotti's Milan does well when the media and football fans in general start to write us off. There is always less pressure on the less favourite team. I won't use the term underdog as it can be misconstrued as being ultra weak. When Milan are clear favourites we do tend to clonk it bad. The two references will be La Coruna and Istanbul. Only the Barcelona case is where we were the slightly lesser side and only lost by a whisker.

    On the opposite hand we have won over Bayern, Depor, Dortmund, Real, Inter, Juve, Utd. etc. when on most occasions their teams were tipped to do better than us. We tend to do well when we are considered to be the less favoured side.

    Utd. with their romp have got everybody's attention which is a slightly good thing for us as they can hog the spotlight. Only this time the Utd. team will be more vigilant and sharper so as to not under-estimate Milan. It makes for a tougher tie and this being a SF will also test the nerves of the players and fans alike. We're talking PRIME PRESSURE POINT here.

    That is why I keep stressing on Mental Strength. It is soooo important.


    It will be very hard to win again in Old Trafford but we have to try to achieve that result. By result I mean WIN in every portion of this thread unlike the general term result meaning "not losing"! Even if we don't and Utd. win by 3-1 for example, the tie will not be over IMO. 4-1 and it is good night unless history is made in Milano. The flip-side is that even a 1-2 win for us in OT for example won't kill off the tie as English sides can be ballistic when they have nothing to lose and that is one situation we have already experienced unfortunately.


    Can we do it?
    ==========

    The first few positive things that are happening are:

    a) A right set of players are being played. The most noticeable change is the midfield. Rino and Ambro playing together has been a failure and deprived us of creativity many a time in Europe. It just stifles the play. The difference this time is that Milan is seemingly playing a X-Mas tree but actually it is not a X-Mas tree.

    --------------------------- Dida ------------------------
    -- Oddo ------------ Nesta ----- Maldini --------- Janks --
    ---------- Gattuso ----------------------- Ambro -------
    --------------------------- Pirlo ------------------------
    --------------- Seedorf ----------------- Kaka ----------
    ---------------------------- Pippo ----------------------

    b) Gattuso and Ambro are guarding the defence and shielding it. Gattuso has failed when there is an onslaught. With Ambro there is re-assurance that he is not alone and both can defend.

    c) Having two DMs gives Pirlo lots of freedom to do his own thing. He is mobile, running a lot (I hope everybody noticed how much running Pirlo was doing in the game as he was on the left, right, middle from time to time) and building up the play.

    d) Kaka and Seedorf along with Pirlo are elastic. They are moving and drifting around the pitch. It makes it impossible to man-mark this trio because none of them is in one position. Ancelotti changed Kaka and Seedorf a few times during the match. Pirlo was drifting all over the place himself. This makes it hard to mark these guys. Zonal marking works but what if a team is used to man marking rather than zonal marking? They're in a right pickle all right!

    e) The one striker up front is fine. Pippo and Serginho don't have 90 mins in them as yet. A few days left before the game which should help. Plus Gila will also be available. Our suspension situation is not utterly bad right now but bare in mind that this same starting line-up might not be able to play in the second leg due to a suspension. The comforting thing is that that game is at home so there is some room for luxury but only just.


    f) One key important factor which was also readily discussed in the Summer was that all the recent UCL winners play a 5 man midfield. I'm sure people remember that. We have two guaranteed games and I'm all for continuing with this midfield unless obviously the situation demands a second or even a third striker.


    We have lots of time to get into the nitty gritty tactics. They don't carry that much weightage right now. It's Heart. Mental Strength. Focus. Perseverence. Big Balls Approach.


    No room for ... Complacency. Cowardice. Precipitating Balls Approach. Cluelessness.


    Please keep Gandini on the bench. I like this move.
    Last edited by Haroon; 12th April 2007 at 20:23.
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  2. #2
    Admin Call Me 7 Cups's Avatar
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    Registered User Haroon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaka.22 View Post
    Manchester United
    If you're a Manc, you're a Wank.

    P.S. Your signature -->> Ughhh. You've even got the granny shagging pikey in there.
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    Nicolas V.1 Nicolas's Avatar
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    One of those amazing match previews by Haroon

    As always extremely well written and very insightful

    Sing when we are winning, sing when we are losing
    The core of Milan is
    Red & Black blood, and not silverware and gold



  5. #5
    Senior Member fillipo's Avatar
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    i don't come on man utd forums (like mau does) but i think in previews the score is 1-0 for milan

    haroon


    i agree with most of it and i also like the formation and have less doubt it will be very close to what we'll use

  6. #6
    Moderator drew's Avatar
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    i fancy us to do this, certainly over 2 legs, i think utd peaked vs roma.

    ..................dida
    ..oddo...nesta....maldini....kaladze
    ......gattuso............ambrosini
    ...................pirlo
    ..........seedorf........kaka
    .................inzaghi


    i think LB needs to be a solid defensive player, if marek has one of his anonymous games, ronaldo will destroy us

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    Rossonero jani's Avatar
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    I'd rather have Bonera at RB and still play Janks.



    I've got a devil in me





    The Best Kaká Video Ever

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    Senior Member Filipez's Avatar
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    ronaldo will be a huge problem, marek, KK, maldini, none of them can stop him i'm afraid.
    Forza Milan

    ALLEGRI OUT

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