CorSera: A trophy to save the season – Pioli relies on starters in ‘high risk’ game

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli will not mess around with the team for tonight’s game against Slavia Praha, knowing that a deep run in the Europa League is the only way to salvage the season.

As Corriere della Sera (via PianetaMilan) report this morning. Slavia arrive at San Siro for the first leg of the round of 16 tie and Milan cannot fail, because the declared objective is to get to the final in Dublin on 22 May.

The scenario is clear: the dream of the second star has vanished, as has the Coppa Italia, so the Europa League represents for the Rossoneri – and their coach – the only way to transform a season that has so far been negative into a positive one.

Lifting the UEL trophy – the only one missing from the crowded Rossoneri cabinet – would also bring around €40m into the accounts, which would be invaluable for the summer when a new centre-forward will be needed above all.

The present opponent, however, are called Slavia Praha. It could have been a lot worse given that Liverpool and Leverkusen were also in the draw, but the Czech giants have already beaten Roma this season and their coach Trpisovsky has won eight trophies since 2018.

Pioli made things clear on the eve of the game: “For us this is the crucial moment of the season, we must not get distracted.” It will be fundamental to lock down the qualification already this evening, to avoid risks in the return leg next Thursday, when there will be a red hot atmosphere at the Eden Arena.

For this reason the coach will not take any risks. In attack Olivier Giroud will be supported by the trio of Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-cheek and Rafael Leao. Yacine Adli should start too, and his plan echoes Pioli’s: “We need to put Slavia under pressure right away.”

Slavia will be accompanied by 4,300 fans, 100 of whom are considered dangerous by the authorities given that in Rome in October they caused accidents and injuries.

The match is judged to be high risk, also because the supporters of the Partizan Belgrade basketball team are arriving in Milan for tomorrow’s Euroleague match against Olimpia.


Tags AC Milan Milan Slavia Praha
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