Gattuso`s antics sum up Milan`s downbeat expectations

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2011, 15:41 PM IST

Milan: Gennaro Gattuso`s snarling confrontation with Tottenham Hotspur assistant coach Joe Jordan was more proof that once proud seven times-winners AC Milan have already all but written off Champions League success this term.

From the day they appointed the unheralded Massimiliano Allegri as coach in the close-season, a former Cagliari boss with no European experience at all, the Rossoneri have been concentrating on Serie A, given a recent lack of spending power means they can not realistically compete with Barcelona and Co.

Tuesday`s 1-0 home defeat to Spurs in the Champions League last 16 first leg began with a whimper as Allegri fielded a very defensive team and ended with an explosion of frustration which could lead to a lengthy suspension for Gattuso.

He was banned for the second leg in London on March 9 anyway and given the state of play at Milan, deep down he knew their European adventure would not last much longer this season and such an episode would therefore not hurt his side significantly.

"I won`t tell you what we said to each other, but we were talking in Scottish," the former Rangers player told reporters having apologised. "Do I expect a ban? I will accept whatever decision."

With the mercurial Antonio Cassano and combative Mark Van Bommel ineligible having played in the competition already this term for Sampdoria and Bayern Munich, Allegri`s hands were tied against a vibrant Tottenham side in pouring rain which epitomised Milan`s night.

The club knew what they were doing when recruiting the cup-tied Cassano and Van Bommel. The Serie A leaders desperately want a first Serie A title since 2004 and if that means putting Europe on the backburner for a season then so be it.

Allegri though has not given up hope that the 2007 winners can recover at White Hart Lane.

"We will play a different game. Everything is still possible," he said.

Bureau Report