Guardiola: It was a difficult victory
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola was delighted to see his team reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the fifth successive season after a 3-1 home victory over AC Milan.
Two Lionel Messi penalties and Andres Iniesta's cute finish ultimately rendered Antonio Nocerino's away goal midway through the first half just a consolation. The first leg in Italy had finished goalless.
Guardiola said after Barcelona's Nou Camp triumph: "We have eliminated one of the big sides in Europe. It has been a very difficult victory.
"They have had three efforts on goal and we have had 21 and this is against a strong Italian team. If people were expecting a 6-0 or a 7-1, it doesn't work like this. Everything we have done is to win the game."
Guardiola refuted Zlatan Ibrahimovic's claims that Jose Mourinho had been right to argue that Barcelona are beneficiaries of dubious decisions at the Nou Camp, and was convinced that both penalties were correctly awarded. "Ibrahimovic can say the same as Mourinho but we respond on the pitch. They were two penalties," Guardiola said.
"They were fouls in the area and they were given so they were two penalties. This is what I have been taught since I was a child. If Ibrahimovic says it is thanks to the referees then fine, but we have qualified five times and the players speak on the pitch, which is where they should do their talking."
The reigning European champions may face a repeat of their 2009 semi-final with Chelsea as the Londoners hold a 1-0 lead over Benfica going into the second leg of the their quarter-final on Wednesday night, but Guardiola refused to count the Portuguese side out of the tie.
"Chelsea still have a game to play, in the Champions League everything is very difficult. We have to be cautious with Benfica, Chelsea have a very good team but everything is possible," he said.
Allegri concedes Barcelona fair victors
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri admitted that the best team had won: "The best team has qualified." he said. "We committed a terrible error for the first penalty."
Milan have failed to reach the Champions League last four in any of the last five seasons but Allegri thinks his side are making progress. "Next year Milan will be much more competitive, this year we have gone a step further in the Champions League and as much as it hurts we must now concentrate on the league," he said.
Allegri makes Barcelona tournament favourites now, as they bid to become the first side to retain their European crown in the Champions League era. He said: "Barcelona were the favourites before and they continue to be so."