Last updated : 06 May 2007 By Editor

"They [Milan] were far fresher than us. I am not talking about the quality, just their freshness and the fact that they were better prepared tactically.

"We couldn't match those things because we haven't been able to rest players and have hardly had a training session for weeks.

"I haven't assessed it properly yet, because I have been too busy looking at the next match.

"The players we had on Wednesday night were good enough. We got caught in possession in some parts of the match and couldn't reach the momentum that Milan reached.

"That is not a criticism of our players' ability. It was a difficult night and we found it hard to get up to the speed of the game. The rain on the pitch made it quicker and you have to give Milan credit for using that very well.

"Their start to the game caught us off-guard. We improved in the second half when we got some momentum going, and if we had got a goal then, it would have given us a boost and maybe changed the game, but the longer we went without a goal made it more difficult.

"They again proved that Italian teams in major competitions, when it comes to the bit where you are not far away from the prize, get it right.

"Quite often Italian teams are hopeless in the group stages.

"Just look at the last World Cup where they drew with the USA in the group stages and were being criticised back home, but ended up winning the tournament.

"They have a thing where they prepare themselves when it comes to the big occasion.

"The Premier League is an every-week event and because we have been top for so long, it has become a prime target. But if we had qualified for Athens it would have been a fantastic occasion for this football club.

"It is difficult to prioritise games. When we come up against a league game, a European game or an FA Cup game, we want to win them. I just hope we finish the campaign with some silverware, because I always say that if we win one trophy I am delighted.

"I wouldn't say it is harder to win the Premiership. The consistency of our form all season has meant that we would be thereabouts.

"A European campaign doesn't really start until after the group stages, which is late January or early February and our progress had been quite good as we saw off Lille, then beat Roma and put in a fantastic performance against AC Milan in the first leg."