Massimiliano Allegri says his side will need to adopt an entirely different approach from their last 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund if they are going to see off quarter-final foes Monaco over the course of two legs.
While Dortmund are a team built to operate on the attack, Monaco have constructed the foundations of a strong Champions League campaign on defensive solidity, meaning the Bianconeri will have to show patience to find a way through.
Expressing this concept to the media today, Allegri began: “Monaco are the opposite of Borussia. When you play against a team who concede few goals everything becomes a lot tougher. There’s the temptation to throw men forward and then allow them space in which to move, a scenario we must look to avoid. We’ll need to show patience, humility and intelligence.”
Allegri went on to express his respect for tomorrow night’s opponents, deeming them worthy quarter-finalists after a resounding group stage.
“I think they fully deserve to be in the last eight. They conceded just one goal in six games during the group stages, knocking out Benfica and Zenit, and just four in total when you consider their campaign as a whole. These statistics don’t come about by chance. They have a smart coach and we’ll need to put in two strong performances, because it’s unlikely the game will be decided tomorrow night.”
When probed as to his potential starting line-up for tomorrow night, the Tuscan tactician elected to keep his cards close to his chest.
He did, however, concede that the respective conditions of Andrea Pirlo and Andrea Barzagli, both back in the squad after spending varying times out on the sidelines, would make it difficult to envisage both getting the nod on Tuesday.
“It’s unlikely you’ll see both Pirlo and Barzagli in the same line-up. Pirlo hasn’t played for 45 days and Barzagli’s just returned from his minor setback. I’ll need to decide my line-up following tomorrow morning’s final training session. In any case the lads are all in good physical shape and finding the right motivation or strength is never an issue when playing such games.”