Pioli confirms Dest and Diaz are ‘recovered’ and says Juric ‘forces you to find solutions’

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has confirmed that Brahim Diaz and Sergino Dest are fit to face Torino at the weekend and he had praise for Granata coach Ivan Juric.

The Milan boss was speaking during his pre-match press conference (via Milan News) when he put to bed any concerns amongst Milan fans that they could be without both Diaz and Dest for the match in Turin.

“Dest and Brahim are recovered, they are available to be called up. I will field the best formation according to the condition of my players,” Pioli said.

It was widely assumed that Diaz would be fit enough to start the game after missing the match against Dinamo Zagreb, but there was a belief that Dest would not be seen again until the RB Salzburg match next week in the Champions League.

Pioli was also very honest about how tough it can be to come up against teams that are coached by Ivan Juric as the Croatian makes his opponent solve problems throughout the game.

“We started at the beginning of the season with the goal of finishing as far ahead as possible in the league by November 13,” Pioli said.

“We have these five important games, the team is doing well: tomorrow is the most important one. It is stimulating to meet Juric’s teams, they force you to find solutions.

“It certainly presents a lot of difficulties, we haven’t played there for a long time: despite being in good shape last year we didn’t manage to beat Torino.

“We want to give continuity, championships are won with continuity, results, streaks of results as long as possible. It will be a balanced championship in the top positions. Doing well tomorrow is important.”

Milan could come up against Pietro Pellegri who was a Milan player last season. When asked if there is any regret around the striker, Pioli said: “No, he had a problematic season due to several setbacks.

“He had a lot of competition, the best choices were made for us and for him. I wish him well, but from the next game.”

On the many selection choices available

“The starting team is there and it’s the one that will start tomorrow’s game, with the knowledge that we have many different players to put into the game as it happens.

“The lads are giving me total availability, this is our way of working. We want to continue to move up a level and it’s normal to have as many strong players as possible, competition helps to keep the level of training high: to convince me they have to give their best every day.”

Do you want to be top on November 13?

“To try to get there we have to score as many points as possible. On November 13 I don’t think it will be decisive to be first or second, but to score as many points as possible. To win we need to get to 85 points at least, which is a lot. We only lost to Napoli, I still think undeservedly: but after that we did very well to rack up four consecutive victories.”

Brahim Diaz’s form and fitness

“He was fine before, he’s fine now. With so many close games a trivial contracture can become a problem for the next game: I don’t think it will be a problem for many of my players to play two games in a row, but we’ll see what choices I make.”

Mike Maignan’s fitness

“Maignan is here, he’s being treated by us. On Monday he’ll have another evaluation and then we’ll decide when it’s possible to have him back.”

Charles de Ketelaere’s form

“We have five very important games for our present and future, all the players are focused on these. At Milanello there is no impatience, we have the foresight and calmness to understand the path of a young boy, what interests us is quality, intelligence and availability: they are all there with him.”

How can De Ketelaere grow?

“It’s difficult to make predictions, everyone has their own path. Then it may be that tomorrow we all praise De Ketelaere for the goal or the play he made. When there is quality, intelligence and availability there are all the characteristics to make a talent blossom into a great player. The important thing is to continue to work with this desire, with this willingness, with this passion that we all have here at Milanello.”

Fode Ballo-Toure and Matteo Gabbia’s involvement

“I believe that on November 13 we will be there and no player will have played the full seven games. I have a lot of available and strong players to play, I will play everyone I deem appropriate to win games.”

Could tomorrow be an opportunity for Yacine Adli?

“Tomorrow’s team will be the best possible. As for who will play, the players have known since this morning. It’s an important and difficult match, but we have the qualities to do well.”

On comparisons between Pierre Kalulu and other defenders

“Comparisons are difficult and often inappropriate. Pierre has his own road to travel. At centre-back he did excellent things, coming back to play full-back it took a few games to regain confidence. He is a player with personality and consistency, he always stays in the game. He is very reliable from a mental point of view. There are many situations in which he can improve, of course. He’s doing well and he absolutely has to continue like this.”

What must Milan do to win tomorrow?

“We have to play with quality, the opponent will bring us a lot of pressure. We have many players with quality, they must have the personality to receive the ball even with the opponent close. We have both quality and personality, I expect a positive performance.”

On his contract renewal

“As in marriages there’s only the renewal of promises, then I don’t know if it will be in a month or two, it won’t be a problem. We know each other better and better and we have many challenges to face together.”

On Thiaw and Vranckx

“They are growing a lot, they are ready. Then I have many solutions, but they are certainly ready to help the team.”

Which Pobega did Juric give you back?

“More complete and aware. He had an excellent season playing with continuity. He knows how to move well in both phases, he has important characteristics that I think the team lacked.”

What is your secret with players’ mentalities?

“It has always been a priority of mine to try to raise the level and optimise the quality of the players available. That must be the priority of every coach. The club provides us with human and technical qualities, we are here to develop them. They are the players, if they continue to improve it is because they have quality and the willingness to work in a certain way. Great credit goes to the club and the boys for the will and sacrifice they put in every day.”

Will fitness or quality be more important tomorrow?

“There will be a fight, lots of second balls and lots of contrasts. In addition to quality, which is always decisive, winning counter-attacks cannot come without it.”

Is there still a step to take in terms of awareness?

“The team continues to believe in its own quality, especially in the difficult moments of the game, and this is an important improvement. All victories come through difficult moments: they know that by working together with willingness and compactness they have the qualities to overcome the most difficult matches.”

By coaching Giroud, Tomori and Origi have you understood what the differences are between Serie A players and those who come from the Premier League?

“They have a mentality where they ask fewer questions. If there are 90 minutes of training they do it at a thousand miles per hour. We are more focused on ‘why we do this or that’, maybe we take something away mentally. They are much lighter, they go to the camp giving their all following the coach. They are much freer and less worried and thoughtful.”

In the locker room did you talk about what happened to Pablo Mari?

“We talked about it, it affected us all. It makes you realise that we are in the hands of fate and that we have to be as careful as possible. On the evening of the accident I heard from Adriano Galliani who called me immediately to clarify how things had gone. We are close to Pablo Mari and we are happy that he will overcome the accident. These things shouldn’t happen.”

Tags AC Milan Brahim Diaz Ivan Juric Sergino Dest Stefano Pioli Torino
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