“I’m very sure we’ll go through to the next round.”
Those were the words uttered by Barcelona fullback Jordi Alba. I am going to be brutally honest about this, but those words cut like a knife. Maybe he has a hard time remembering because he was born in 1989, and what happened the last Barcelona was to big for their own britches. Maybe like some Milan "fans" who praise Barcelona, he lacks any semblance of respect for AC Milan. Whatever his ailment is, his words will not be forgotten. In fact they should be enlarged and plastered on the wall of every corridor, on the back of every seat, and on the locker of every visiting player at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening. Jordi Alba's words are not visionary, they are not respectful, they are not thought out...they are FIGHTING WORDS and Milan should not take them lightly.
Motivation is a funny thing, and it is statement's like this one that can get a team charged up to not only do what needs to be done, ie win, but to embarrass their opponent. To end a dynasty is not a luxury now, it is a must, a paramount task and something that I hope is accomplished on Tuesday evening. I want Jordi and the rest of his teammates to remember what AC Milan will do. Don't worry though Jordi, you play in La Liga, and while I hope Real Madrid embarrasses you their as well, your competition is minimal, yet you built a "dynasty" on winning a two horse race year in and year out, congratulations buddy!
Tuesday's match, however; will not be easy. I don't harbor a strong belief that Milan will go to the Camp Nou and crush the opposition. Yes, a two goal lead is incredible, and requires Barcelona to play wide open football, exposing their weaknesses. I also know that Barcelona has no issue acting their way through play after play, they have done before (versus Chelsea, Milan and Real Madrid) and can do it again. I hope it doesn't come to that, but it may. Milan must not let stoop to this level, they must stay organized, focused and strong. To duplicate the last match at the San Siro may require a Herculean effort, but it is a must to take eliminate Barcelona.
Allegri will surely have the boys calm and ready to, but nerves will exist. Rino always said he was amazed at how the more Champion's League Games the team played the less he felt the nerves. This team doesn't have that luxury, all but a few players will be susceptible to nerves and challenges, but they must turn to leaders like Ambrosini, Abate, Muntari, and Abbiati who have seen these difficulties and overcome them.
The lineup, as long as everyone returns fit should be as follows:
Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Ambrosini, Montolivo, Muntari; Boateng, Pazzini, El Sharaawy
This lineup provides balance of youth and leadership as well as recreates the magic from the San Siro. Everyone will need to be at their best and depending on the outcome players like Nocerino and Flamini or Niang and Robinho can be deployed to help matters along either to score or preserve. Let's hope it is to preserve as Milan has the advantage and should keep it that way. I am not advocating a sit back and defend, but clogging the middle as they did in the last match and getting forward when they can at least for the first 45 is a solid game plan.
Would love to hear and read everyone's thoughts as we grow closer to a defining a match of the 2012-2013 season. Win or lose, we still must move forward, but boy what a WIN would do for ALL of us who believed!