AC Milan’s director of football Massimiliano Mirabelli has jokingly claimed that he is “sorry for Arsenal” after the Rossoneri were matched up against the Premier League giants in the last 16 of the Europa League.
Both sides continued their journey in Europe this season by scoring four goals over two legs in the first knockout round of the competition. Arsenal survived a scare in the second leg of their tie with Östersunds to progress, while Milan comfortably turned over Bulgarian side Ludogorets.
“I’m sorry for Arsenal, who I’m sure would have liked to have continued in Europe,” Mirabelli said after the draw, as quoted by the Mirror.
“It would have been a nice final, but I’m happy. It’s best to face a big club like Arsenal now. We needed opponents like these.”
The 48-year-old also took to social media and offered a little more sincerity about the draw, calling upon fans at the San Siro to help the Rossoneri progress through their match against Arsenal.
Affascinati dalla doppia sfida con l’@Arsenal negli ottavi di @EuropaLeague! Ci faremo trovare pronti. Chiediamo a San Siro la carica di cui abbiamo bisogno. Noi siamo l’@acmilan. Con voi.
— MMirabelliOfficial (@MassMirabelli) February 23, 2018
“We’re fascinated to face Arsenal in the last 16 stage of Europa League. We’ll be ready,” Mirabelli wrote on Twitter. “We ask the San Siro crowd to provide us [with] the support we need. We are AC Milan. With you.”
Arsenal and AC Milan last met each other in 2012 during a last 16 clash in the Champions League. Despite winning the return leg 3-0, the Gunners’ catastrophic display in Italy – where they conceded four goals without reply – allowed Milan to progress to the quarter-final.