I arrived yesterday in Milan and made the trip to the San Siro for the Plzen pre match press conference. Upon arriving at the stadium I was in awe at the sheer size, an absolute monster of a ground. Not so pleasing on the eye, as it kind of resembles an early 90’c NCP Car Park from the outside, but WOW, what a stadium.
Milan conjures up images of a bustling economic hotspot, and the fashion capital of Europe. The locals clad in the latest designer gear, drinking high end cocktails and generally being very Milanese. When you think of Plzeň, you think of… err.. well.. Pilsner Urquell, the Czech Republics most famous export (apart from Vladimir Smicer and Patrik Berger in my case). The locals in Plzeň come from very humble backgrounds, in complete contrast to the city of Milan and the football teams are no different.
AC Milan have an illustrious European history, with 7 European Cups and 2 Cup Winners Cup’s to their name. We might as well throw in the 18 domestic league titles and 5 Italian Cups while we are at it. Viktoria Plzeň have just a solitary Gambrinus Liga title and two domestic cup successes, a far cry from the oversized trophy cabinet the Rossineri have had to install.
Looking at tonights game and Viktoria Plzeň will take be hoping to continue their impressive away record in the competition. Granted, AC Milan are a different kettle of fish to Pyunik, Rosenborg and FC Copenhagen but Plzeň will not be turning up to the San Siro with their autograph books, they will want to make a game of it.
Milan have a lot of injuries at this moment in time, not to mention their slow start to the season, so in all fairness Plzeň have turned up at the best possible time to face the Italians. The pre-match press conference saw Pavel Vrba and Pavel Horvath take questions from the Czech and Italian media
Horvath as ever was his usual relaxed self, when compared to his opposite number Clarence Seedorf, Horvath joked “I have the same size pants, it’s probably over. My best foreign involvement was in Japan, he probably made it further.”
The Rossoneri refuse to underestimate the Czech’s as coach Allegri is well aware of the threat that Plzeň pose “”But it will not be an easy match. We must approach it with sacrifice and determination.” Allegri added “Plzeň is a team that defends, has a rapid transition to attack. Therefore we must be careful and not lose the ball needlessly, as we occasionally have recently occurred.”
Plzeň can also take heart from last night’s Champions league result where FC Basle almost beat Manchester United, Ashley Young spared United’s blushes with a 90th minute goal to make it 3-3. Trabzonspor and Ondrej Celustka have recent happy memories of the San Siro when they beat Inter Milan 1-0 on matchday one this season. So, it can be done, but of course the gulf in class between AC Milan and Viktoria Plzeň remains as large as Horvath’s pants.