AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has targeted a victory on Wednesday against group minnows BATE Borisov in order to keep pace with reigning champions Barcelona.
Milan began their UEFA Champions League Group H campaign with a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou before beating Viktoria Plzen 2-0 at the San Siro. And Allegri wants his team to arrive at their penultimate game at home against Barça on equal points, giving them a chance to top the group.
"We have to win so we don't drop points with respect to Barcelona," said Allegri. "On top of that, winning in the Champions League helps you in the league. But that doesn't mean we're counting on beating BATE, you need to respect all your opponents.
"They defend in an organised and orderly manner, they're young and good on the counter-attack. We'll need to be careful and play with intensity and especially technique otherwise it will be an own goal and we can't have that.
"They're a team that shouldn't be underestimated because at 20.45 (kick-off) it will still be 0-0. Against Viktoria we gave away too many chances and that can't happen tomorrow."
Having initially struggled at the start of the season, securing just one win in their first five league matches, Milan thumped Palermo 3-0 on Saturday. However, Allegri does not believe that means they have suddenly turned a corner.
"It's not a question of that, we messed up the game in Turin (a 2-0 defeat) due to Juventus's strengths whereas against Palermo on Saturday we played well both in attack and in defence. You can say it was the game that sets us back on track because in Turin we played badly technically rather than physically.
"We didn't get our results last year by chance, but to back them up we have to start winning. In the league you need to be consistent and balanced because there are 38 games whereas in the Champions League you need to be on form from the word go."
Allegri bemoaned his lack of choice in midfield. "I have an abundance of defenders, but in midfield [Massimo] Ambrosini, [Gennaro] Gattuso and [Mathieu] Flamini are missing while [Clarence] Seedorf hasn't trained for two days with the team and yesterday Thiago [Silva] didn't train due to a knock.
"[Kevin Prince] Boateng is back but I don't have many options and I have to choose between him and [Alberto] Aquilani."