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Milan wary of resurgent Arsenal despite 4-0 lead

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Last Updated: March 05, 2012, 20:06 IST

Milan wary of resurgent Arsenal despite 4-0 lead

For Arsenal to advance, they will need to be the first team to overturn a 4-0 deficit in the Champions League.

London: Milan still have hard work to do if they are to reach the Champions League quarter-finals despite the luxury of a 4-0 advantage going into Tuesday's last-16 second leg at Arsenal, coach Massimiliano Allegri said.

For Arsenal to advance to the quarter-finals, they will need to be the first team to overturn such a large deficit in the Champions League.

Buoyed by victories over Tottenham and Liverpool in the Premier League, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, "Let's ignore the statistics and let's just go for it."

AC Milan would have to collapse like no side has in Europe since the 1980s to be ousted by Arsenal after a 4-0 victory in Italy.

"We know the statistics are against us, but you also know that you can realize the impossible when you don't know it is impossible," Wenger said. "We can score in quick succession and we can have a good edge in our game. We have it all to win, and all to do because the result is written before we turn up, but we can change it, and we must go for it."

And despite a four-goal lead from the first leg, Allegri is not taking anything for granted. After all, Milan were ousted in the 2004 quarter-finals by Deportivo La Coruna, losing the second leg 4-0 after winning 4-1 at home.

"Despite the 4-0 advantage, the English never give up," Allegri said. "So I'm expecting the team to be even better than in the first leg, because we know how difficult it will be."

"Tomorrow may seem like an easy game, but only in appearance. In reality it is not. We must have great concentration, we must not underestimate the game."

Allegri said Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored the fourth goal against Arsenal in the San Siro last month and bagged a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Palermo on Saturday, was playing as well as any striker in Europe.

"Along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the three of them are at this moment the best players in the world," he said.

Wenger, though, would be unlikely to swap Robin van Persie for anyone, including Ibrahimovic, after the Dutchman's 31 goals in all competitions this season.

Wenger said there is no chance that he could rest the striker against Milan, despite the odds being stacked heavily against Arsenal overturning the first-leg deficit.

"I would not be very credible to tell you we want to score five goals and then leave Robin van Persie out," Wenger said at a news conference on Monday.

"We will not accept going out of the Champions League because we want to stay in. We will give it our best shot tomorrow."

"It is important we have a strong belief and that we show we have enough belief to make what looks impossible, possible."

"We know that only one thing gives us a chance, and that is to play a top-class performance for 90 minutes. That is what we will try to put in."

"The task is a very high one, the level of the performance that is demanded is very high as well, but we want to be top-level performers and that is what the target is tomorrow."

Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta are both doubtful for Tuesday's clash, as is Yossi Benayoun.

Milan have included midfielders Alberto Aquilani and Urby Emanuelson in their squad with Massimo Ambrosini suspended.

Maxi Lopez, Alessandro Nesta, Alexandre Pato and Antonio Cassano are all still out.