International Champions Cup Preview: Milan v Valencia
By Football News
Milan have earmarked the International Champions Cup as ideal preparation for their upcoming UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
The Serie A side sneaked into Europe's premier club competition on the final day of the 2012-13 campaign, and will begin the pre-season tournament against La Liga's Valencia at their Mestalla home.
After the curtain-raiser in Spain, the eight-team cup, which also features Chelsea, Real Madrid and Juventus, heads to the United States, with fixtures set to take place in San Francisco, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, Indianapolis and Miami.
Massimiliano Allegri has been satisfied with his side's progress so far in pre-season, which has seen them win the TIM Cup by beating Juventus, and believes his side have many more gears left to find.
He said: "We have a month before the Champions League play-offs, and in between we face important tests which will see us improve in terms of fitness.
"We must try to obtain the most we can but we don't know what our maximum is."
Defender Luca Antonini added: "Without Milan there is no Champions League.
"Milan’s objective must always be to reach the top, to obtain the best result possible, so first we are determined to get beyond the hurdle of the Champions League play-off, then we’ll see.
"We have almost a month to work for this appointment and we’ll prepare for it as best we can."
Valencia come into the tournament after a poor showing on a tour of Germany, which saw new boss Miroslav Djukic oversee defeats to Stuttgart and Karlsruher, while the Liga side could only draw with fourth-tier Waldhof Mannheim.
Djukic will also likely have to persist with transfer rumours throughout the competition with star striker Roberto Soldado and key defender Adil Rami linked to Premier League duo Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.