Pioli confirms in pre-match presser that changes to XI will be made against SPAL – full transcript

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has confirmed that he will make changes to his starting XI for Wednesday’s game against SPAL.

The Rossoneri will travel south to Ferrera to face a side battling relegation, looking to build on Sunday’s 2-0 win over Roma at San Siro which came off the back of a 4-1 win against Lecce.

Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu got the goals against the Giallorossi as Milan trimmed the gap on their rivals from the capital to six points, while reports have suggested that there will be changes to the starting XI for Wednesday’s game.

Calciomercato.com believe that Pioli is considering making three changes to his starting line-up for the game against SPAL from the XI that beat the Giallorossi, with Davide Calabria, Alexis Saelemaekers and Lucas Paqueta set to start over Andrea Conti, Samu Castillejo and Giacomo Bonaventura respectively.

Pioli spoke to reporters before the game in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, and his words were transcribed by MilanNews.

Do Milan deserve more points in the standings?

“If we weren’t able to score points, it is because we have seen some shortcomings. To make the team grow, it takes time, it took work and sacrifice to carry on our ideas,” he said.

“But it’s not the time to look back. Now we have an important tour de force with 30 points available. We must live this moment with concentration.

“Two points per game is an excellent average. Being able to keep it would be positive, then we’ll see if it will be enough for Europe. We just have to think about one game at a time. Tomorrow it will take great attention and concentration because it will be a complicated game that will be faced with determination.

“At other times we have done well, but we have not achieved the results. We must continue like this, I am satisfied with the victory against Roma, but we have not done anything yet. We must prove every time we can beat anyone.”

Will the substitutes be important against SPAL, as they were against Roma?

“I have always thought that changes are decisive and now they are even more important. With five substitutions I have a wide choice, playing every three days they cannot always play the same. The changes will be more and more decisive.”

Is Ibrahimovic ready to return?

“Psychologically he is fine, he is a lion with great determination. He had a good training session yesterday, if he can do the same today he can be called up.”

Will anything change in the starting XI?

“It will be normal to make changes, I can’t think of always playing the same team. In the first three games we took advantage of the fact that we didn’t play every three days. Now we will have to get used to this and the players must also understand that there will be changes,” Pioli continued.

Is Calhanoglu a leader at Milan?

“Hakan is a great player, I am stimulating him to become an even more decisive player. He has everything to do well, he runs, he has quality, in my opinion the time has come for him to become a top player. For me he is a top player, he is both a technical and mental leader, but his team-mates must recognise this.”

How important is Donnarumma?

“The goalkeeper must always keep the team ready. I don’t know if he is the best goalkeeper in the world as Maldini said, but he is certainly among the top three. I was a defender and I know what it means to have a goalkeeper behind you that spurs you. He must continue like this.

“Renewal? Maldini explained it well. I see him calm and determined, he has an excellent attitude, I see him happy at Milanello and I still see him at Milan.”

What do you think of Alexis Saelemaekers?

“Saelemaekers has quality, he must try to be less frenetic, he must be more lucid in his choices. But he is young and will learn to do it.”

Did you expect this form from Ante Rebic?

“In the segment of the game against Cagliari I understood that he could do well. I am happy with his attitude, he must be an example for everyone. This is the right mentality.”

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