Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Mighty Milan down Manchester

Mighty Milan down Manchester

Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson believes his team's exhausting pursuit of three trophies finally caught up with them when they were denied a place in the Champions league final.
AC Milan blew away United 3-0 at the San Siro here on Wednesday to join Liverpool in the Athens showpiece on May 23 - a repeat of the 2005 final which the Merseysiders won on penalties.
Milan's victory at the San Siro, secured by first-half strikes from Kaka and Clarence Seedorf and a late breakaway goal by substitute Alberto Gilardino, clinched a 5-3 aggregate semi-final win over the Premiership leaders and prevented the first all-English European Cup final.
United are five points clear at the top of the Premiership with three games left and are through to the FA Cup final, where they will meet Chelsea.
And Ferguson believes the Champions League proved a bridge too far for his battle-weary men.
"We never got out of the blocks and Milan were physically stronger than us," said the United coach, pointing to the fact that the Italian side were able to concentrate fully on Europe with little else to play for having lost out to Inter in the race for the title but almost certainly qualifying for next season's Champions League through their league position.
"We didn't cope with the start. The pressure was on us and we needed to keep possession to keep the crowd quiet, but we had trouble doing that.
"We lost two goals very cheaply, and you have to defend better in those situations.
"Milan put up a fantastic performance and were much fresher than us. We needed to see through the first 25 minutes without cutting our throats.
"Credit to AC Milan; they were much sharper and pressed the ball very well.
"But we have been using the same players for weeks now, while Milan have been resting players at the appropriate times.
"We had a grueling test at Everton last Saturday (coming back from 2-0 down to win 4-2) and it's not easy, but I still expect more from my team. We will take it on the chin and see where we go from here."
Milan were one of several Italian clubs found guilty of match-fixing in last year's 'Calciopoli' scandal and were originally told by the Italian football authorities they would not be allowed to take part in the Champions League.
But the club's appeal was successful and they were allowed to join the competition in the third qualifying round.
As part of their punishment, Milan were also given an eight-point handicap this season, seriously denting their championship hopes.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted he had a good feeling about his team's chances of overhauling their 3-2 first leg deficit.
"We were convinced that we were going to play a great match and we did that," he said.
"We played a great first half at a high level, and that set up the result.
"It was the best first half I've seen since I have been coach here. It was perfect."


Updated : 2021-10-16 11:45 GMT+08:00