AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has confirmed that he will make some changes to his starting XI for Thursday’s game against Sparta Praha.
The Rossoneri will be looking to make it two wins from two in their Europa League group stage campaign when they host the Czech giants at San Siro, having won 3-1 away against Celtic a week ago to get off on the right foot.
A lot of the media speculation leading up to the game has been about the rotation that Pioli could deploy, as his side looked tired at times in Monday night’s 3-3 draw against Roma with suggestions that the likes of Brahim Diaz, Rade Krunic, Sandro Tonali and Diogo Dalot could get a run out.
Pioli spoke to the media who were gathered in the Milanello press room to preview Thursday night’s clash, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
Is it the right group for your Milan to grow?
“It is a tough and difficult group. It is a group that will put us to the test, the opponents are good. Sparta have won all the league games they have played so far and in 11 against 11 they played well against Lille. They play modern football, it won’t be easy to overcome them.”
What is your mood after the 3-3 against Roma?
“We must always strive to get the most out of every match. Against Roma we wanted to win, we left the pitch with some regrets, but also with the awareness of being on the right path. It is good that the boys are not completely satisfied with the result, and it is right to always expect the best of ourselves.”
Will there be any changes compared to Monday?
“There will be some changes because we are using a lot of energy, it is an important but very tiring moment.”
Did you talk to Tatarusanu after his error on Monday?
“I talked to him, as I did with the whole team with whom I analysed the game. I have full confidence in him and also his team-mates. The players must always help each other, we must continue like this.”
In which department do you need to strengthen yourself the most?
“You are already thinking about January, but we do not because we still have many games. We have clear ideas and if we have the opportunity we will improve the team.”
Could Kessie and Theo be handed a rest?
“Even the players don’t know the formation yet. I’m doing several evaluations, we still have two training sessions. Dalot has been signed to play both right and left.
“I don’t like to talk about changes, I have many starters. Tomorrow I will field the best team, we are preparing as best we can to face Sparta.”
How is Ibrahimovic?
“I will make all the necessary assessments since we are playing a lot. After tomorrow, we will immediately have another important match in Udine. If I ask Ibra if he feels like playing he will always say yes, like all my players.”
What do you think of Baresi’s appointment as honorary vice president?
“I am very happy with this decision. Franco is a Milan legend and he will be able to convey the right values. I can’t wait for him to come here to Milanello to talk to me and the team. It is important to have many people in the club who know what Milan is about.”