William Gallas admits our second leg display against AC Milan may not have been the prettiest – but he insists defending our aggregate lead was the priority.
The Frenchman was key to the rearguard action that rendered Wednesday’s clash goal-less, keeping our 1-0 first leg lead in tact to take us through to the Champions League Quarter-Finals.
With the Italians constantly pressing to get back on level terms, William was happy for us to sacrifice our usual attacking mentality – a game-plan comparable to that of some of the great Serie A sides down the years.
And although he accepts our tremendous support may not have been swept off their feet by our performance as they often have been at the Lane this season, he knows advancing in Europe’s elite competition was the all-important goal on the night.
William said: “We defended very well, not only the back four but as a team. We didn’t play great football but it doesn’t always matter if you don’t play well – the most important thing is to get a result and we did that.
“When you’re playing against a team like Milan you have to be patient and defend well. I think we played almost like an Italian club, and in the end we didn’t concede a goal.
“Everyone is pleased with the way we defended, even though we didn’t score. Normally, the fans like to see us attack. Last night it didn’t really happen but it doesn’t matter.”
It was our goals – all 18 of them – that built our reputation during the group stages of the competition this season.
Now, after digging deep to grind out a Round of 16 victory over two legs, William believes we showed another side to our game that will make the rest of Europe sit up and take notice.
He added: “The victory shows everyone how far we can go. I think other clubs are a little bit afraid of us, which is good.
“Before this tie, everyone spoke about how strong we were in attack, but last night we showed a different way.”