AC Milan technical director Paolo Maldini believes that tonight’s game against Porto is not do-or-die as some are making out as he offered some words of encouragement to Fode Ballo-Toure.
Maldini spoke to SportMediaset before the game and began with an assessment of the magnitude of tonight’s game, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
“We have zero points after two games so clearly tonight the three points will mean more. To have the chance to pass the round you need nine points and everything is up to us. We must not distort ourselves, beyond absences and opponents,” he said.
“In Liverpool everyone felt a particular shiver down their spine and this is a lack of experience that there is at Milan. These games make us understand that, by playing our way, we can also compete at these levels.”
Ballo-Toure got the nod again to start at left-back despite rumours all week that Calabria would be on the opposite side to the one he usually is.
“He needs to play. He has great athletic abilities. The language can be a problem, but sometimes you need to make mistakes to learn. Ours is a maturation process that began two years ago but for many players it’s a first time experience at these levels.”
Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez, Brahim Diaz, Alessandro Florenzi and the disqualified Franck Kessie are all certain to miss the game, but the good news is that Tiemoue Bakayoko has returned to the squad, though Ante Rebic misses out. Maldini, though, believes excuses are simply that.
“It’s not easy but with Pioli we gave ourselves some codes, an idea. We don’t give excuses to whoever goes on the pitch, whoever plays will do their part. They are great players. If you give excuses before of the match you prepare for a defeat and this is not our way of seeing football.”