AC Milan defender Philippe Mexes, who was singled out for criticism following his team’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal loss to Barcelona last season, was one of several Rossoneri players to impress against the Blaugrana in Tuesday’s 2-0 Round of 16 win at the San Siro. In an interview with Radio RMC, the France international warned his teammates that a first-leg victory guarantees nothing.
“Remember what happened with Arsenal last season,” he said, referring to Milan’s narrow 4-3 aggregate win over the Gunners in the 2012 Round of 16. “We won 4-0 at home and then lost the second leg 3-0 with Robin Van Persie wasting a great chance at the end.” Although it was “satisfying” to win on home turf without conceding a goal, Mexes warned: “We must not get ahead of ourselves. We haven’t qualified for the next round, nor won the Champions League. Even if we beat Barcelona, we haven’t actually done anything exceptional."
The Frenchman also noted that the Rossoneri, which has clawed its way back to third-place in Serie A after a terrible start to the season, must now shift its focus to another big game: the Milan derby against fifth-place Inter on Sunday. “The most difficult thing now will be to cope with the euphoria [of the Barca win] ahead of the Inter game, a match we want to win after the first game this season,” he said. Inter won the previous meeting, 1-0, on Oct. 7.