Howe discusses Tonali’s Milan return and his previous meeting with Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

Eddie Howe has insisted that Sandro Tonali is fully focused on doing his best for Newcastle tomorrow, while he revealed that he has met Stefano Pioli before.

After the derby demolition at the hands of Inter on Saturday, there is the need for an immediate response from Milan in order to not throw away the very positive signs from the first three rounds of the season.

They face Newcastle in the first of their Champions League group stage games tomorrow, a team that have not played in the competition for 20 years and are probably seeing their European foray as a bit of a free hit, given how tough the group is.

Howe spoke at his pre-match press conference at San Siro on the eve of the game between his side and Milan, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

What happened to the flight delay?

“It’s part of the work we do. Unfortunately we have no control over air traffic. It was a very long day for all of us, it was a never-ending day. We also did preparation training, we tried to do our best. That was all very tiring.”

How do you plan to manage the Champions League?

“I worked a lot, but never in the Champions League. Now we’re in the Champions League, there will be a lot more effort. It’s a very special match, we have to give our best. There will be many differences compared to the Premier League.”

What can Isak give?

“He’s had a great recent period, he’s getting used to the way we play very well. He talks very well with Callum Wilson, they’re both very technical and give us the chance to win a lot of games. Isak is a great talent. Callum is fine, yes he trained with the team.”

Tonali returns to play against Milan…

“Sandro has a very strong character, he is very devoted to the cause and to the team, he is dedicating himself body and soul to Newcastle: he is doing everything we expected of him. It is very admirable. It is very difficult to move from one country to another, he always works hard. Tomorrow he will be available.”

Do you see yourself as a coach in Italy?

“I remember well when I came to see Sarri’s Empoli, they recommended him to me. I visited the coaches and wanted to learn, I was impressed by Sarri also by the sensational welcome.

“Then we met in the Premier League, I owe him a lot. It’s not mine My biggest ambition is to coach in another country at the moment, but we don’t know what the future holds.”

What is your first impression of Milan?

“We’re eager to experience the atmosphere of San Siro. When we start playing, we’ll only think about that.”

What’s the mood?

“I haven’t had individual conversations, but I have conveyed to them the way I want them to play and they know exactly how to implement this strategy.”

What impressed you about Tonali?

“I really like him as a person, he focuses a lot on football and I like the football he plays. He’s a leader and he’s amazing how young he is. He’s very excited and we’re happy to have him with us, now and in the future.”

What do you say about San Siro?

“I was impressed by the size.”

Milan has several former Premier players…

“It will be a complicated match, they have a lot of quality and a fantastic coach. The challenge that awaits us is very difficult.”

Could the arrival plan be changed?

“If we had arrived later we wouldn’t have been able to do a tactical job and for me that’s very important.”

What is your goal in the Champions League?

“We want to do our best, that’s no secret. We want to show the best style of play.”

What do you like about Pioli in particular?

“I met him a few years ago and we talked about football, I like how he manages the team. I think he’s a really good man who knows how to convey a lot of energy, then to be at Milan you have to be really authoritative.”

Tags AC Milan Eddie Howe Milan Newcastle
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