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Milan delighted with Crespo's return
Simon Evans | November 25, 2004 11:47 IST
AC Milan secured a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League with a 4-0 win over Ukraine's Shakhtar Dontesk and the happiest man in their camp was two-goal striker Hernan Crespo.
Brazilian Kaka also scored two as Milan cruised to victory in the second half after struggling to break through against a determined Donetesk but it was Crespo's return to form that pleased coach Carlo Ancelotti the most.
"He is still not back to his best but he has lost a weight off his shoulders by scoring again and now he will find his best shape even quicker," said Ancelotti.
Crespo joined Milan on loan from Chelsea in the close season but was unable to get on the scoresheet until Saturday's 2-1 win over Palermo in the Italian Cup.
"After a lot of suffering and a lot of patient work, I'm really happy now," said Crespo who shrugged off a question about whether he now felt back to the form he showed during prolific spells at Parma and Lazio.
"I don't think I have ever been away," said the Argentine who also played in Italy for Milan's rivals Inter before moving to Chelsea last season.
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani used the occasion to take a shot at some of those who questioned the wisdom of bringing Crespo to the club.
"After the goal at Palermo and this performance, some of those making hasty judgements will need to change their opinion about our signings," he said adding a word of praise for French midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo.
Kaka has also faced some criticism as he has struggled to find the form that lit up Milan's title winning campaign last season but he looked truly on top of his game on Wednesday.
"He did very well although he wasn't doing that bad before tonight and I think that he is just missing a bit of consistency," said Ancelotti who insisted he would play a full strength side for the final Group F game away to Celtic in Glasgow.
"We will have our best team there because we want to finish top of the group," he said.
Shakhtar's Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu said his side had lost their heads after going 1-0 down early in the second half.
"It was a strange game. We played so well in the first half and we could have wrapped the game up. We had them in real trouble.
"But we relaxed a little and let them get their goal. After that we just lost it psychologically and fell to pieces," he said.