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Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

AC Milan's Flamini defends tackle on Spurs' Corluka

Champions League
Tottenham v AC Milan
Venue: White Hart Lane Date: Wednesday 9 March Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and live on ITV 1

Vedran Corluka is carried off the pitch after Mathieu Flamini's tackle left him injured.
Corluka has not played for Tottenham since being injured by Flamini's tackle

By David Ornstein

Mathieu Flamini says he does not regret his two-footed lunge on Vedran Corluka in the Champions League meeting between AC Milan and Tottenham at the San Siro.

Spurs won the last-16 first leg 1-0 but were furious the Milan midfielder got only a caution for the challenge which saw Corluka suffer an ankle injury.

"People can say what they want but I went for the ball," Flamini told BBC Sport ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

"I'm sorry he got injured, but I don't have any regrets."

Right-back Corluka left the field after 59 minutes of the bad-tempered match and scans later revealed the 25-year-old had sprained part of his right ankle joint capsule.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp described the lunge as "horrendous" and added: "It was a sending-off - he was two or three feet off the floor with two feet. It was a leg-breaking tackle."

Flamini further incensed the Tottenham players and staff by getting up from the challenge and raising his arms to the home fans in what appeared a form of celebration.

Tottenham have many great players and Bale especially has a lot of quality

Mathieu Flamini

"Football is a physical game and sometimes things like that can happen," the 25-year-old stated. "I went to the dressing room after and apologised, what more can I do?

"When you play at this level there is full commitment and it's not your aim to injure someone. I give everything on the pitch and my style will never change."

Corluka has yet to regain fitness but Flamini is likely to start in central midfield for seven-time European champions Milan.

And the Frenchman is expecting a tasty reception - not only because of the Corluka incident but also as he is a former Arsenal player.

Flamini faced Tottenham five times while playing for their rivals between 2004 and 2008 and this will be the first competitive match in north London since leaving the Emirates Stadium.

"The atmosphere is going to be incredible and of course I'm expecting a hot reception, but I'm ready for anything," he stated.

"It will be an emotional occasion and very special for me personally. First and foremost I want to help Milan qualify, but there is extra motivation playing against Tottenham.

"As an ex-Gunner it's going to be like a derby for me and if we manage to win it will be doubly satisfying.

"These are the occasions you look forward to as a footballer - I will focus on my game and try to stay concentrated as much as possible."

Milan have won all three of their matches since the first leg and currently sit five points clear of reigning Italian and European champions Inter Milan at the top of Serie A.

Flamini was impressed with the way a Gareth Bale-inspired Spurs beat Inter 3-1 at White Hart Lane in the group stage, but insists his side will not be making any special plans for the Welsh winger.

"Tottenham have many great players and Bale especially has a lot of quality," said the Marseille-born player.

Redknapp will not risk Bale fitness

"But we're not scared of him and we're not going to treat him any differently. Our focus is not on Tottenham but on ourselves.

"We have to be strong defensively and then play our football - we've been excellent recently and will have to be excellent again if we're going to qualify.

"Our confidence is really high at the moment and everyone is very excited to play. They beat us in the first leg but we will go to White Hart Lane and fight for everything.

"We know it's going to be a very tough game with a high intensity because Tottenham are a good team who play quick football. We know it will be difficult but we have no fear, we're confident and we have the players to reach the quarter-finals."

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see also
Tottenham 0-0 AC Milan (agg 1-0)
09 Mar 11 |  Europe
Barca & AC Milan earn narrow wins
07 Mar 11 |  Europe
Uefa gives Gattuso four-match ban
21 Feb 11 |  Europe
Quick return expected for Corluka
17 Feb 11 |  Tottenham
Redknapp shocked by 'crazy' Gattuso
15 Feb 11 |  Tottenham
AC Milan 0-1 Tottenham
15 Feb 11 |  Europe
Tuesday football as it happened
15 Feb 11 |  Football
Mathieu Flamini interview
23 Apr 09 |  Arsenal
Flamini seals switch to AC Milan
05 May 08 |  Arsenal

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