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Milan coach shrugs off AEK defeat

Written by: Staff

ROME, Nov 22 (Reuters) AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has shrugged off his side's shock 1-0 defeat to AEK Athens after they qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League.

The result, along with Lille's 2-2 draw with Anderlecht, virtually assured the six-times European champions will finish top of Group H after the final round of matches on December 6.

''The Champions League only comes alive (when the knockout stage starts) at the end of February,'' Ancelotti was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta dello Sport today.

''Our objective was to win the group and we have done that.

That is all that counts now. The rest can wait.'' Milan played well in the Greek capital, but were punished for their imprecise finishing when AEK striker Julio Cesar fired in a free kick in the 33rd minute.

''We created many chances, but we didn't score. (Striker Filippo) Inzaghi made a few mistakes, but that is understandable. When you don't play much, the pressure can get to you,'' Ancelotti said.

Milan's defeat came on the back of a series of poor results in Serie A, where the club have won just one of their last nine matches to slip 22 points behind leaders Inter Milan.

Recently, however, they have shown signs of improvement and might not have lost so much ground if they had not hit the woodwork four times in their last two games.

''All my players need to do is keep their heads up and continue working hard. The results will come,'' Ancelotti said.

Reuters RL GC1620

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