Darren Fletcher believes there is still 'all to play for' in Manchester United's tie with AC Milan and expects the first goal in the second leg to be crucial.
United secured a first win over Milan in the San Siro on Tuesday night as Wayne Rooney's headed brace clinched a 3-2 success.
The 2008 winners appeared poised to take a two-goal advantage into the return clash at Old Trafford in three weeks' time until Clarence Seedorf scored a late second goal for Milan.
Seedorf's impudent effort ensures the tie is in the balance and Fletcher, who created two of United's goals in the San Siro, is aware a place in the quarter-finals is far from guaranteed.
And, with just a one-goal cushion, the Scotland midfielder predicts the opening salvo in the second leg will play a decisive role in determining which European heavyweight will reach the last eight.
"The next goal is going to be crucial," said Fletcher.
"We went to win the first leg and we've done that, but it is still all to play for in the tie.
"We have seen the quality Milan have got in their side. They are capable of creating chances and scoring goals so we will have to be on top form to get through."
United had lost twice to Milan in the San Siro in recent seasons and, despite a shaky first-half showing, Fletcher believes the Premier League champions have improved since their previous visits.
He added: "We were maybe a bit naive when we first came here, but we have come a long way.
"As players you get more mature every season and pick up more experience. You learn how to cope with these sorts of situations.
"We need to maintain these standards in the Champions League though.
"It is no good resting on your laurels thinking you have made it because there are too many other teams with so much quality."