MILAN, May 1 (Champions League) - AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has stressed the importance of his team winning for Italy in Wednesday's Champions League showdown against Manchester United.
Ancelotti's outfit are the only non-British side to remain alive in Europe's elite club competition with three English teams in the semi-finals.
'We are very honoured to represent Italian football in this competition and more so considering that our nation are world champions,' said Ancelotti.
'My team is a very Italian side, with an Italian soul and I believe we are best able to represent Italian football.'
The Rossoneri go into the crucial return leg at the San Siro needing to overturn a 3-2 deficit from the first leg at Old Trafford last week.
Ancelotti believes his team are up for the challenge, with a 1-0 win sufficient to take them to the final in Athens on May 23.
He said: 'There's always tension and expectation ahead of a semi-final tie, but I think we are in good condition to do well.
'We know who were are up against, Manchester proved to have great quality in the opening leg. I don't believe there will be any surprises as to how they will play on Wednesday.
'If we were to concede a goal it will be no tragedy. We have to play for 90 minutes and I believe we can score more than one goal.
'Our aim is to control the game as we did in Manchester when we were able to have the upper hand for 60 minutes, now we have to do the same for the entire game, that is the best path to victory.
'One of Manchester's characteristics is the strength in their attack and the most dangerous striker is Wayne Rooney, as he showed in the opening leg, that is why we must limit their actions in front.'
Ancelotti has brushed aside United's poor record in away games this season in the Champions League.
The Red Devils have lost three times in four games on the road.
'This is a game where the past means little,' he said. 'This game is crucial for both teams, we are all playing to reach the final.'
Ancelotti does have one fitness concern ahead of the game in the shape of captain Paolo Maldini.
The 38-year-old defender sustained a knee injury in the opening leg and his chances of playing on Wednesday are considered slim.
'The only player who is doubtful is Maldini,' said Ancelotti. 'We will take the decision of whether he will play together, but it looks unlikely that he will recover.'
Maldini is one of those players who were in the Milan team when they lost to Liverpool on penalties in the final two years ago.
But Ancelotti does not believe that elimination on Wednesday will mark the end of the current Milan's team.
'When we lost against Liverpool in the final in Istanbul, people said it was the end of a cycle,' he said.
'I think we can postpone that for several years.
'The average age of my team is 28-29 so they are in full maturity right now.'
Ancelotti believes that whatever the result he will have a drink with Ferguson after the game.
'I will greet him (Ferguson) before and after the game,' said Ancelotti. 'I will give him a bottle of good Italian wine before the encounter to celebrate the Athens final regardless of which team goes through.'